Sunday, January 27, 2019

Freezer Cleanout - Part 2

It is a bit sad how exciting I find it to open my freezer and see a bit of space.
I have a small life.


I did very well on what I pulled out of the freezer on the second week. The turkey bone bag was so big I was able to make 2 batches of turkey stock - I made one into soup that same day and used some of the roasted garlic in the the soup (turkey noodle, so good, I was the only one who ate it)  and froze the other batch of broth.  I made the broth in the Instant Pot.  Very easy.

I used the blueberries for a pan of Blueberry Grunt from The Urban Vegan, and added some strawberries that I bought especially for that Sunday dessert.

The chicken cutlets were actually pork - and they got eaten on the Sunday as well.

The sausages were made into a weird crock pot thing that no one really liked.

The buns got eaten for breakfasts and lunches, and the pirogis and bacon made an easy weeknight dinner with some broccoli and peas.

Unfortunately the kebabs got tossed - once thawed it was clear one was an odd shade of greeney brown, which made me nervous, so I got rid of them.

Here is what I took out of the freezer last Saturday morning:

A half bag of ice left over from when our fridge died.  I tossed it.
Half a bag of frozen papaya - will be good for smoothies.
Frozen black bananas
Corn on the cob
Cooked turkey
Cooked pork belly slab
Naan bread
Flatbread shell
Not pictured - a bag of chopped rhubarb

The papaya went into a smoothie with some watermelon and strawberries from the  fridge and a black banana from the counter.  There's a bit left but it won't last long.
The naan bread and flatbreads were turned into Saturday night pizzas.
The turkey and corn were used for a weeknight dinner, and the pork belly was served with eggs and toast.
The rhubarb became a Sunday night dessert.

Yesterday morning (week 4)  I trekked back to the freezer, admired the growing amount of room again, and emerged with this:

ANOTHER bag of turkey bones.  Going to make it into stock and freeze it; makes more sense to have frozen turkey stock than bones.
Leftover ham slices/chunks - not sure what to do with this.
A couple of meat pies from Costco
Apple muffins
2 seafood patties bought from a butcher. 
Not pictured - a container of  homemade "Hawaiian Chicken" I will thaw for dinner later in the week.

The pickings are getting slimmer and weirder.

There are so many bananas down there - it may be time for some banana baking.

I am going to have to do some internetting - there is a lot of frozen spinach down there, both bags I have portioned and frozen and a couple of the blocks you get from the store.  What to do?

I tossed out two items this week - some old popsicles and a single serving size container of leftovers that was SO freezer burned it hurt my eyes.  The plastic container it was in had a crack, so it was definitely time for it to go.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Book Club - Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


"Similarly, when the question is raised, "What kind of God do you believe in?" my answer is easy: "I believe in a magnificent God." "

"Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend."

"May Peace prevail on Earth, reads the sign." 

"The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy."


Another November book sale purchase down!  I was trying to read 5 different books at the same time; with this one finished, it's down to 4.  I liked this one very much, although the portion I thought I would like the most - India - I liked the least.
Maybe I'll read it again in a few years and see if it feels differently to me.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Sunday Dinner - Onion Buns

I made some Onion Buns from King Arthur Flour that I made for the first time 9 years ago.

My helper was very interested in the dough and insisted on being the one that put the rolls on the baking sheet.  She did a fine job.

They were a good hearty bun with a mild onion flavor for most of us - The Boy said they were too oniony for him and wouldn't eat his - and he is a carb addict like his parents so he really meant it. 

They went very well with our soup, meat and cheese, and veggies.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Mincemeat Tarts from 100 Breads

We had the best Christmas we could this year, and missed my mom terribly every second of it. 

I know it would have made her so happy to see the kids with my dad, and she would have laughed a lot at how big and smart and silly the kids are.

We did a traditional dinner this year, turkey and all the trimmings, and I patted myself on the back for how perfectly the turkey came out.

The highlight for me was the homemade mince tarts - my favorite.  We used the recipe from Paul Hollywood's 100 Breads which is easy - the pastry is so simple even I can't mess it up, and the filling is simply jarred mince with some apples and mandarin oranges stirred in.  We left out the oranges because my dad didnt' like the sound of that, but I'd like to try it sometime.  I forgot to dust them with sugar, so there they are naked on the right in the photo below.

The ones on the right were a Christmas Eve gift from a thoughtful person, and we had fun at Christmas dinner tasting them both and pretending we were judges on a baking show trying to pick the winner.  It was super close, but thankfully mine squeaked out a victory.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Pork Belly Two Ways

On a recent trip to Costco we came across some pork belly strips in the meat department.  I think I had pork belly once in my life as part of a tasting menu at a restaurant?  Or maybe not?  It is one of those ingredients that seems too exotic for the likes of us.
The Grandpa, who has fond memories of pork belly from a tasting menu at a restaurant (hey that sounds familiar.....) decided we should buy it and have it for a Sunday dinner.

Much debate about cooking methods and techniques and styles and seasonings and sauces was discussed over the next few weekends (the pack of belly was safe in the freezer) and finally we decided on Honey Glazed Crispy Pork Belly.

It was easy and delicious and we all loved it, especially The Boy, which was a bit of a surprise.
The pack of pork was huge and we froze the cooked leftovers and a while later we turned a couple more of the strips into Pork Belly Hash with some potatos, onions, bell peppers, garlic and paprika, with eggs on the side.  
So good.

We've got a few more stashed away to be used up and I'm thinking a stir fry, or better yet - 
FRIED RICE!!!!!!  Now that sounds perfect!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Book Club - The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

2019 -1

"I tried to make a home for myself here, tried to turn the apartment into the sort of place where the person I wanted to be would live."

"You'd be destroying what makes it special." she said.  "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty."

"I hoped when New Yorkers looked at me, they would see whatever it was that Dad saw." 


Another November purchase already read, I'm on a roll!  In the fall I read another book by JW - Half Broke Horses.  I enjoyed both of them, but this was was very difficult for me.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Freezer cleanout has begun

Our freezer is in a pretty appalling state right now - full to the brim....but of what?
There never seems to be anything useful for a quick meal, it's full of fruit, bread, greens, bones....
Where are the chicken pieces, packs of ground meats?  
They are at the store because I have no room for them.
With the dawn of a new year I've decided that enough is enough and I'm getting my freezer cleaned up, along with the rest of my life (ha!)

Last Saturday -
I was working on a menu plan for a busy week and went to the freezer hoping to find some stew meat and some chicken.  I found the stew meat - no chicken, and also unearthed some yeast, which I added to my container in the fridge freezer, and some corn tortillas and homemade enchilada sauce, which I also moved to the upstairs freezer in anticipation of making a version of these green chile enchiladas.

I also brought up a bag of home frozen spinach, half a bag of frozen blueberries and a nearly full bag of mixed frozen berries.
I turned the spinach, the blueberries, and some of the mixed berries into a smoothie for me and the kids, along with a banana that was heading south and some almost expired coconut yogurt.


The beef stew meat was turned into Instant Pot Korean Beef, but the tortillas and sauce were not used.  The Mister pulled a box of mini sausage rolls out for a dinner/snack one night but the kids refused to eat them.  We tried to reason with them - you like sausage, you like pastry!  No go.

This morning  - 
I can see improvement in the amount of space at the top of the freezer!!!!!  Progress is being made.
I found some frozen chicken cutlets that will get cooked for tomorrows dinner.  I also grabbed a bag of turkey bones to make some soup, a bag of roasted garlic heads to move to the freezer upstairs so I will remember to use them, a bag of cheese buns, MORE blueberries, some swiss chard - maybe for the soup?, 2 Korean kebabs from Superstore that I will cook up for The Mister and I to eat for lunch or dinner.  I also found a bag of pierogis and some bacon, which will be an easy and tasty dinner too.  Grabbed a package of sausages too - if I can find a crock pot recipe or something easy for them, my week is practically set.

I am not above tossing out anything that really needs to go, although my goal is to eat as much of this as we can - I found a glass jar of homemade jam that was thankfully in a freezer bag; it had cracked or leaked so that got thrown out, along with a truly unidentifiable bag of something pretty scary looking that I didn't want to thaw to find out what it was.  Ew.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

playwright's melt

I pulled my copy of My Father's Daughter off the shelf a while back to make the 10 Hour Chicken for a special Sunday Dinner.  It was so good! Better than I remembered from all those years ago.  
The book sat out for the rest of the week and I started flipping through it, reading recipes to The Mister of things that sounded good.  
When I got to playwright's melt - olives, scallions, cheese, curry powder and veganaise spread on an english muffin and toasted, The Mister stopped and said "That's breakfast today" and started shredding cheese and firing up the broiler.

The kids both took one look at our plates and asked for cereal but that was ok - this would be wasted on someone who didn't appreciate it.

We used regular mayo instead of veganaise and canned olives instead of fancy ones and it was deeeelicious.  This version doubles the cheese but that ain't a bad thing.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Sunday Dinner - One Pot Seafood Stew and Skillet Flatbread

We cooked an absolutely gorgeous dinner from Cravings 2 by Chrissy Teigen that knocked all of our socks off, ALMOST including the kids!
This seafood stew is amazing, fully of fish, shrimp and scallops.  Incredibly flavorful.
I did what I often do and increased the liquid amounts, so it was more of a soup than a stew but then there were more leftovers and we were all glad for that.

The flatbread was a super duper major hit with my carb loving family.  This is on repeat around here.

Such a delicious amazing dinner from one of my favorite books.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Advice for 2019


THIS is how we are going into 2019.

Put those emotional vampires, the negatives, the drama first people at the back of the pack.
Focus on you and those that are important to you - those that love and care about you JUST the way you are - not the ones that only want you to act and react the way they think you should.  The ones that only reach out when they need something or some validation.  The ones who ignore you until it works for them.  Because - real love and kindness?  Isn't like that.
Bye to those guys.

Reach out today to someone you love, like, admire, miss - whatever.  Tell them you are thinking about them.  Wish them well.  Put some good vibes out into the world today, on day one of 2019

Here we go; peace and love to you as we start this brand new year.