Vera Stewart

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since Apr 22, 2015
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Recent posts by Vera Stewart

It has been Fifteen? days since I last threw out food.

It's raining today and I made a new-to-me soup, peanut butter and tomato soup using some of my home made tomato sauce as it's base, and topping with a little Thai basil that's been growing on my kitchen counter. It was quite tasty - there is also a variation that uses sweet potato, and I bought sweet potato for it...
but when I came home and opened my browser bookmarks on this laptop, the first recipe that came up was the one without the sweet potato and I was half way through making it before I remembered I had the sweet potato.
But I did remember, since I had my hand blender out to blend the soup, to also make myself a big cup of fruit smoothie to drink this afternoon.

I only have about five more servings of my tomato sauce, I think I'm going to miss it. I'm also relieved that I have made use of all of it - I hope to make a big batch again this fall!
My community's garden share-swap weekly meetings don't start until next month, I am somewhat disappointed to learn.

Today's shop was quite light - I'm still working on using up some of the things in the freezer before the big heat returns, but I also took advantage of a buy one get one deal on chicken drumsticks - I've got one package-worth of chicken cooking in the slow cooker at the moment and will cook the second package tomorrow morning. I've trying two new recipes in hopes housemate will like them better. After cooking the chicken I'll freeze some of it. We were getting a bit low on meat, particularly chicken, so I'm happy that this sale came along.
Earlier this week I investigated the updated prices for a only-grass-fed beef delivery service which reaches my town - unfortunately it seems like their prices have doubled since I last looked into buying from them, and when I last looked I thought I might be able to manage them only a couple of times a year... now I just don't think so. But I'm happy that I investigated. And I do occasionally see grass-fed beef on sale at one of the stores in town. I just need to keep my eyes open.

I was able to re-write the first chapter of my novel this week --- only this morning, I discovered that I have the weather completely wrong --- the prologue talks about a winter storm coming, and the first chapter talks about it being a hot summer day! So I know what I have to fix next fiction-writing-wise. I admit I was a bit aggravated this morning when I discovered what I'd done - but now I've reminded myself that two steps forward and one step back still gets you one step in the direction you want to go.

I'm going to try and get into 14 hours a day fasting this coming week. I was ridiculously pleased to note my stomach was grumbling for food yesterday morning - I have such a bad habit of eating before I'm hungry and then eating past feeling full.

1 week ago
It has been Ten days since I last threw out food.

Today I am thrown off kilter by a change in schedule. But I made some vegetable broth that is attributed to Gloria Swanson for this month's dinner and a movie event - I'm supposed to be watching Sunset Blvd. this weekend, except that I can't find a free copy - instead I'll just have to do my best to remember it, I have seen it already a few times.

Anyway, the Gloria Swanson "Potassium Broth" is quite easy and nice and no doubt helps you not gain any weight while you are a movie star- it's basically just some vegetables boiled up in a 2 cup water to 1 cup diced vegetable ratio - the recipe I got called for swiss chard but I substituted kale, there is also celery, zucchini and green beans. The recipe is unclear on if you're meant to drink the broth without the veggies in it or if you're meant to eat it as a very light soup with the veggies still in - I have elected to strain the veggies out and set them aside to add to rice for tonight's supper, and I'm sipping the broth throughout the rest of the day. (I've no idea if it's actually high in potassium or not. Mostly it tastes like celery.)

Included in the recipe-possibilities for this weekend's event are several recipes attributed to Cecil B. DeMille, and I'm pondering if I can fit one of them in later on - it is a long weekend, after all. (The deMille recipes are considerably heftier than the broth.)

The tofu stirfry last week was quite nice, I really enjoyed it! Predictably, the housemate was slightly perturbed by both the tofu and the plethora of vegetables, but I was maintaining a cheerful "I don't care, I made it, I like it, you can have peanut butter on toast later if you want to make that" attitude.

I went with my housemate to the city yesterday for shopping, which means my monthly grocery budget has been buried under a deluge of "fancy" cheeses, pastries, and ingredients for bread machine bread. Plus I bought organic apple sauce and cottage cheese which I hope will allow me to snack on something more nutritious than mass-produced pastries. Apples and applesauce continue to be weirdly expensive, for a place where there are literal apple orchards a five minute walk away. I used to get free apples from acquaintances, but now they seem to be hoarding their gold.
I did get fresh asparagus from one neighbour this week!
Too bad I don't really like asparagus.

If I have time, I'd like to visit the community garden-surplus exchange booth on Monday evening. I can take them a bunch of rhubarb. I still have frozen rhubarb from last year, while my rhubarb plant grows and grows this spring/summer.
They probably have a lot of rhubarb coming in right now. I could take them some sorrel as well.

I've just noticed how dusty my keyboard is - I think it might be actually tiny bits of ash - we've started getting wildfire smoke this week.

I'm up to 13 and a half hours of "fasting" in my new time-restricted eating regimen - it's starting to get a bit tough so I'm going to stay at this length for this coming week before adding more minutes to eat. My goal is 14 hours fasting and a 10 hour eating window, sort of the minimal schedule that seems to have some scientific backing.

I wish the temperatures would cool down a bit as I still have numerous oven-related foods to eat - I don't want them hanging out in my freezers until October, sheesh.

Re my writer's block: I have decided that for the rest of the month, I'll just do what I want to do, as long as I'm working on something. If this means that I'm horribly behind on my big writing project by mid-June, well, that's what it'll mean. I don't want to turn it into something that stresses me out unnecessarily. It's not anything that's likely to make me the big bucks, it's not anything that's likely to find millions of readers, it's something that should be enjoyable - and while I want to do it, if it's not going in a way that's entertaining me, it's not like the dentist's, I don't have to do it.

2 weeks ago
As someone who has a relative who has been trying to sell a small piece of property for literally a decade now...
my hint is to make an offer!
a cash offer. Not a "can I pay you a little bit over the next five years I promise I will" offer.

The relative would take half of what they're asking if someone would just make them an actual, here is the money, offer.
2 weeks ago
Sorry for sending you smoke. I started getting it in my part of Canada yesterday and stared at my laundry on the line and debating bringing it in. However, I decided that I'm probably doomed to an entire summer of smoke and I was going to use my outside line sometime so I might as well use it now, dang it. The ?good? news is that when everything smells like smoke anyway, smoky clothes aren't particularly noticeable...

I have never encountered "laundry stripping" before, and my mind is slightly blown. I do wonder what I'm supposed to do about killing germies on my wool socks in the winter when sun is unavailable.
2 weeks ago
It's been a busy week, and I'm not feeling 100% so this is going to be short. But I believe this thread has been going for a year now! Happy Threadbirthday to us!

Sadly, I had to throw out a little bit of rice this week. I could see it, getting slimier and slimier, and I just couldn't get to using it until it was too late.

It has been only three days since I last threw out food.

I'm continuing to do to time-restricted eating, and thinking of bumping it up to thirteen and a half hours over the weekend. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing much walking. However, I have finally finished spring cleaning my basement and got about half of my garden in. I got a recipe test in a few days ago, and ate soup tonight even though it's a bit warm - we're expecting hot weather over the weekend and I wanted to get another frozen jar of soup out of the way before then. (There is still some left, so I fear we're going to have to have that for lunch tomorrow. I really don't want to, but I want to eat it on a 30 degree day even less.)

I am not making any progress on my writing project. Is there a thread around here about getting over yourself and doing the thing?

There were lots of nice vegetables at the shop today, so I loaded up with kale, and also a big box of mushrooms, and a big bag of peppers that I'm going to freeze tomorrow. And something else I'm sure but I can't remember what it was right now.
I have plans to test a chinese stir-fry recipe handed out by the local library along with the "spice of the month" - Chinese 5-Spice. I got some tofu to throw into it. I haven't had tofu for a long time.

The sorrel in my garden is almost ready for it's first harvest.

What are you looking forward to on your plate this weekend?
3 weeks ago
Thank you both for sharing your stories!

This week I made a happy egg save with some eggs that were starting to get a bit elderly by hard-boiling and sending some off as snacks and using some for an egg salad as sandwich filling.
We're having a heat wave, although it's expected to be considerably cooler tomorrow, and I've been avoiding turning on the oven. I made some chicken soup in the pressure cooker - enough for four servings - although I don't know when I'll be eating it! I've put it in the freezer for now.
I finished off one of my containers of rhubarb compote by mixing some with almond milk and pairing with the last of the excellent sourdough bread at breakfast.
I've brought out of the freezer a small container of left-over cranberry sauce, from Easter, and used some as a light spread on buns with the egg salad sandwich. I'm going to use more of it alongside some left over rice, and fish, tonight.
This week's grocery shop so far is exactly on target budget wise, and if I can stay out of the stores until late next week, that will be a good start to the month budget wise. (But I will probably need to buy cow milk later on this week for the housemate.)
I bought two huge muffins from the local bakery, from the going-stale discount rack, at the same time as I bought a birthday cake. I plan to cut them in half and enjoy them for breakfasts for the next four days - if I plop them in a bowl with milk it won't matter if they're a bit stale.
I'm planning to go 13 hours and 15 minutes between supper and breakfast this week as I try to advance slowly from starting at 13 hours to a 14 hour time-restriction diet. I lost a tiny bit of weight over the past week, although I'm not sure that has anything to do with the time-resticted eating, it might just be due to the heat suppressing appetite and possibly a case of slight dehydration.
I have been drinking a lot of iced tea (it's not actually ice tea because I haven't been using ice... it's just cool tea) and I'm happy to report that I have finished off another old box of herbal tisanes.
I am now starting on a 60-bag black tea box that is stamped with a 2019 best before date.  This is going to take awhile, because I don't really want to drink a whole jug full of cold black tea every day. I have a feeling that would not be great for me. I'm not used to caffeine.
I planted some lettuce in my garden this week, also, potatoes, although i still need to plant a lot more out there.
There was only one small bag of potatoes at the budget grocer's this week.

Upcoming food challenge: Remembering to use up some of the oven-needing items in my freezer in the next little while, before summer properly arrives. Including the casserole I made up and stuck in the freezer downstairs. I need to remember that's there.

It has been 13 days since I last threw out food.

Today, I have been looking at Medium and Substack and trying to decide if I want to start blogging on either of those platforms about food-related things.
I have a feeling I'm mostly procrastinating on my major writing project, alluded to last week --- I haven't really started on that yet, although I've done a bit of nibbling around the edges.
Onwards and upwards! and time for me to get something more to drink.
1 month ago
It's been only 6 days since I last threw out food.

And I went in to the city today and destroyed my grocery budget for the month. I did not realize how much more expensive dog food has become, but I needed to buy two bags-full (one is a specialty food that I mix in with the 'regular') and there was definite sticker shock. (I've been including dog food in my household grocery budget forever, but it's been several months since I've needed to buy more as I had a bit of a stockpile)
For the month of April, I am about $60 over budget.
Beside the dog food and the recipe-testing last week, there were also some birthday-related purchases. Still, it's quite noticeable that when I go into the city I spend much more on groceries than I do when I stay in town...
however, I've also in the past week picked up some groceries on odd days while walking about the town and these somewhat-impulse purchases didn't help the budget either.

The weather has been great over the past week and I've been trying to go for an hour-long walk everyday, as I'd like to improve my overall fitness, and I used to walk regularly but have let that habit drop for quite awhile.
I should probably try walking away from town instead of towards downtown in the coming week, to avoid the siren call of the shops. The problem is that before I walk for half an hour away from town, I start going seriously uphill, and I don't want to get into sharp incline hiking right now, I just want to walk! Perhaps I can find a route that skirts the downtown shopping danger zones without requiring mountain-scaling.

Also this week I have been testing myself on time-restricted eating. 13 hours between supper and breakfast seems pretty easy for me, but... I've actually managed to gain a little weight this week, despite the walking and the time-restriction! This is not good. I definitely don't need to gain weight! I am, I think, sleeping better, though.

I used up some rhubarb the other day - I think my frozen rhubarb stashes are (aside from the tea) the oldest foods I have in the house - and I still have rather a lot of both.
For the next week, I don't really have much of a plan - I am starting on a new writing project and want to focus much of creative energy there - so I think I'll mostly be playing the meal times by ear. I have several items in the fridge at the moment that need rather quick eating, including some tomato sauce --- I still have lots of tomato sauce from the big batch I made in the fall!

I hope to start planting some beans and lettuce outside this weekend.

How have you been doing? Any big food waste wins or fails in your life recently?

1 month ago
The recipe testing last week did not go particularly well in terms of preventing food waste.

Both recipes were successful, as far as I can tell, they tasted the way that they're meant to taste - but the radio cake was horrendously sweet, and I have thrown out most of it, along with the coconut oil I purchased to make it, because I've never used coconut oil before as a baking/cooking ingredient and have no plans to use it in the future, also, it got a bit "contaminated" with chocolate while I was using it. So I threw out most of a jar of coconut oil.  Plus some condensed milk that I needed for the corned beef hash recipe but then didn't know what to do with it after that and I was already throwing things out and to be honest I just got lazy about it.
The third thing I threw out about a quarter of a can of corned beef, because it was not looking too appetizing after I made Bette Davis' red flannel hash. (Which didn't actually taste all that bad, I ate all of that dish over a couple of days.)

Foods that I saved this past week - I made a frozen pizza on the same night as the corned beef hash, because I wasn't sure how it would turn out and I needed a "back up" in case me and my guest couldn't eat it. Since we did eat the hash, I had an entire pizza left over. As a result, I ate pizza for breakfast for most of the past week. I realize this gains me minimal nutritional or permie points, but having bought it, I did not throw the pizza out.
I didn't know how many beets I'd need to get the amount I needed to include in the hash, and it turns out I bought two too many. I have now cooked those beets up and will be using them up over the next few days.
Yesterday I was out on a prowl through town looking for presents for an upcoming party and found myself at a specialty deli/bakery/cool place, where I bought some presents and also discovered that there was a loaf of wholewheat sourdough with caraway seeds on discount as it was a day old. I bought it and brought it home and it is delicious. I've put it in my upstairs freezer so that I can take a slice at a time out to toast for breakfast on the mornings I'm not eating pizza leftovers.
I have continued working my way through the ancient teas in my cupboard, and even managed to entice my housemate to join me for tea, once.
Because I feel a bit vegetable-deprived, I splurged on them today at the grocery store. I also bought a 50% off organic salad mix that I know I'll enjoy quite soon. Perhaps some chicken-on-mostly-salad for lunch tomorrow, for example. (I have more chicken left over in the fridge at the moment than ideal because I've just learned that my housemate does not actually like my instapot chicken recipe, although they said nothing about it the two times I've made a big batch of it previously. Now I have a bunch of chicken cooked in a way they don't like, so I get to it all myself.)

And I fed my bag of veggie scraps into one of my garden beds last week and I've started collecting another bag-full.

Considering that I heard on the news the other day that grocery prices were inflated by 9% last month compared to last year, I'm starting to feel a bit impressed with myself, budget-wise so far this month I am actually coming in (crossing fingers here) under budget!

Food things I need/want to do this coming week:

Eat less pizza
Chop up and freeze most of a mushroom package I bought today, and probably freeze some of the veggies I bought as well
Eat the last of the (organic!) instant-noodle mix I bought while on holiday
Finish the green tea (move on to the herbal teas)
Plant some seeds for my garden!

1 month ago
We'll call this day thirty in my current no-throwing-out-food streak.

Another grocery shopping day confined to town, which really helps the budget.

For Easter I roasted a turkey, and I have several jars of turkey soup now, too.
Finally finished off the lemon-berry cake this past week. Made a (small) test of icebox cake concoction as planned for my cookbook project.

Still haven't cooked the Bette Davis dish, I expect I'll be doing that this weekend. I found a dessert recipe that is perfect for my project, a Scandinavian no-bake cake known as radiokaka which I hope to try this weekend as well. (My cookbook is me matching mostly mid-century recipes to episodes of a radio show. How could I not try something called radiokaka?? The project is proceeding quite slowly, but there's no deadline.)

For my day-to-day cooking, I've cooked up a package of chicken legs in the pressure cooker this afternoon - I hope to get supper tomorrow plus several chicken sandwiches out of that.
Yesterday I made a couple of rice-turkey-turkey-dressing-and-other-left-overs casseroles, one smaller one which we had for dinner and one large one that went into the freezer for now. I do also have several packages of turkey meat in the freezer but I'm a bit tired of turkey at the moment and don't want any more just now. Had fish tonight. The chicken legs tomorrow, then I'll probably be doing Bette's corned beef and beet hash, and then I'll be treated to a roast of some kind on Sunday...

I also do have vegetables about this place.

I decided to "pickle" some of them the other day, just for fun, dunking them into a fancy pickle jar after it had been emptied of it's original pickles.

This afternoon as I was playing with the chicken legs, I heard cranes and rushed outside to watch them fly north!

A question: I have a cup+ of pot barley in my pantry. What should I do with it?

1 month ago