Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pantry challenge setback

Had a bit of a problem this week, my refrigerator stopped cooling again.  My water wasn't as cold as I expected and when I checked the temp in the refrigerator, it was 60 degrees.  I put everything in coolers and set it out on the front porch while I unplugged the unit.  It seems this particular refrigerator can freeze up in the back, where the air circulates between the freezer and fridge.  The freezer stuff was hard as a rock, but no air was getting up to the top.  Once it defrosts overnight, everything is fine.  Luckily it was cold enough outside to keep everything safe. 
I tossed some salad dressings and the salmon patties and miracle whip, along with some sour cream and other meats.  Not a whole lot, but I needed to get some replacements yesterday, so I ended up spending $25 at Kroger.  Still stayed below $100 for the month, so I am pretty pleased.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Woo Hoo! Big sale on EBAY!

I sold a set of 5 books, a science fiction series by George R. R. Martin, for $399 last night.  After Ebay and Paypal take their cuts, I made about $340.  Two of the books I picked up used, the other three I bought new, so I know there was at least a $250 profit.  This was my biggest sale so far.  The five books weighed in at over 14 pounds boxed up.  I also sent a 21 pound box of books to my brother Brian today.  Thats 35 pounds of books gone, several thousand left to go!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Smoothie, and a cat.

This is my smoothie before blending.  There is cataloupe, chia seed gel and some Suero Viv on the bottom, followed by half a banana, fresh spinach and a couple of frozen strawberries.  Looks good, doesn't it?  It tastes very good.  After it is blended, the spinach turns it green, but there is only a slight taste of the spinach, because the banana and strawberries are the overpowering flavors.  This is a great midmorning snack, and definitely keeps me satisfied for a long time.  I haven't measured everything and entered it into a calculator, so I don't know how many calories or what the nutrition is, but it can't be anything but good, right?

This is what it looks like after the blending--a green smoothie!  It was kind of shocking the first time, I had to force myself to try it, but now it doesn't bother me at all.  I mixed up some tuna salad last night, and have a couple of sandwiches in the fridge to grab.  I still have a couple of salmon patties also.  A pound of ground round is thawing in the fridge.  I think I am going to just make more mini meatloaves, because I am down to one in the freezer. 

Here is Ramona, cuddling up with my Mom.  The top of the ladder is a favorite perch of all three of the cats.  King of the mountain. Below is my Aghan, as it is going together.  I am not sure that I like it yet, hope it grows on me as it gets bigger.  I am certainly going to have to put an ecru border around it, as it is smaller than I thought it would be.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Afghan progress-asking for help

I went to the local Yarne Shoppe yesterday to see if anyone could help me with ideas for putting my afghan together. There were about 7 women in there, knitting away around a big table, talking and laughing. I may be going back there soon! I posed my question, and the first suggestion was to maybe put them together with black yarn, which was a definite possibility. It would have made the afghan have a stained glass look. Then one of the women suggested a "Mattress stitch". She grabbed a needle and yarn and proceeded to demonstrate. I liked it, and as I packed up my yarn and bought a needle, they all asked me to come back when I finished, so they could see how it turned out. I love communities like that! I sat and put two rows together last night. Eight more to go, and then I start putting the rows together. I see some TV in my future!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Leftovers make soup!

I put together a very tasty soup yesterday, with the leftover rice, some turkey broth, and carrots, broccoli and onion from the veggie drawer and frozen corn.  I added some parsley and oregano and  black pepper and called it good.  I still have some for lunch tomorrow, and think I will throw some cheddar on top after I heat it up.  I made some salmon patties and a cold chicken salad out of the meat and soup cabinet, but gosh there is still a lot in there! 

Here is my nephew, Matthew, modeling an Armani coat I picked up to resell. Doesn't he look dashing!  I had his wife Angie take the pictures because she is a great photographer.  I spent the afternoon with them in  St. Louis, so they could visit with their furry child, Ramona.  They are on their way to Hawaii to live and I am taking care of Ramona until they get settled. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Afghan progress

I have finished all the pieces for my afghan, and now have to put them together.  I am having a problem deciding what color to whip them together with, but think I am going to end up using the ecru.  The instructions just say to whip stitch or slipstitch them together, but they are all different colors, so the stitching is going to stand out.  Usually I have outlined the pieces in one color before putting them together, so this is my first time with this issue.  I started crocheting them together, but didn't like the look of them, so I have taken them back apart and will  try whip stitching tomorrow.  So close, and yet sooooo far.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pantry challenge update

I am doing pretty well with the challenge, haven't eaten out yet this month!  I am not doing so well at the menu planning.  My problem is that I don't usually eat a MEAL, just parts of one off and on all day long!  Right now I am making some rice, and I have some salmon marinating.  When the rice is almost done I will cook the salmon.  I will eat one salmon and some rice right away, and the other will be broken up on a salad this evening.  The rice could be used in a soup or in porcupine meatballs later.  I don't like being tied down to what to eat, because I never know what I will be in the mood for.  I think I will be better off just making a list of possible meals, and marking them off when I use up those ingredients.  I have managed to make up an inventory of the freezer, canned goods, and spice and herbs, so that helps. 
In the refrigerator, compliments of this weeks cooking, I have a tomato meat sauce, some tuna and white sauce, some tuna casserole and that will get me through the week-end, with salads already cut up and some fruit in the crisper.  I need bananas and cantaloupe from Aldi's, but that should do me for the rest of next week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apollo and Morgan, cats 3 & 4

I had my two cats, Hank and Merlin, and life was good.  I had a screened in porch that I left food out for them, because my cats were indoor/outdoor for a long time.  I lived in a trailer park while I was going to school, and it was out in the country, so I wasn't worried about speeding cars.  One night I heard a racket out on the porch and found Hank in a standoff with this gorgeous gray and white long haired cat over the food.  It took me several weeks to get this cat used to me, and moving the food bowl closer and closer to me, I was finally able to get my hands on him.  Underneath all that fur he was light as a feather.  He was also all matted up.  By this time my baby sister was also attending the same college, and had a trailer in the same park.  I called her up to hold the cat while I trimmed out the mats.  He was calm as could be as long as he was in your arms or in the house, but as soon as he got out he reverted to the feral he had been for so long.  I took him to the vet and got him his shots and had him neutered.  He never gained a lot of weight, but he was so soft and gentle in the house.  Apollo got on well with Hank and Merlin.  He was a ragdoll type cat, and would just lay in whatever position you put him in.  He would have been a great cat for a house with children! 

Not long after Hank died, a neighbor kid came by with an orange and white kitten, trying to find it a home.  Morgan was a beautiful cat, but he always had a skin condition, allergies of some sort.  He didn't like to be touched, and I think it was just too uncomfortable for him.  He used to hang out with my 80+ year old neighbor on her porch swing.  She was allergic to cats and never petted him, but she would talk to him for hours.  He would roll over and show her his belly and she would scold him when he was watching the birds too intently!  She bought him snacks and toys and I fed him and paid his vet bills.  I can't find a picture of Morgan, probably because he was always with Thelma!

Below is a video of my current two cats and one I am babysitting for my nephew, enjoying a little catnip party!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pantry pictures at the beginning of the Challenge

 The Freezer compartment, with broth freezing on the cookie sheet.  Yes, I really do have this much food.  Hope to make a dent in it so I can freeze some ice cubes, somewhere.  I have inventoried the top section, but still have that bottom drawer to go through.  Hope I don't have to throw much away!
 The Refrigerator portion is also stuffed to the gills.  I do have bags of varous nut flours and seeds behind all of this, and want to keep them in there.  Some of it I will replace immediately as I use it, the Chia seed gel and the Cantaloupe sections go in my smoothies.
 The meat, soup and veggie cabinet with some pantry items on the top shelf, brown sugar, corn starch, etc.
 The fruit cabinet, with spices in the box at the top and honey and cooking spray on the second shelf.  This is right next to the stove.
 The baking cabinet with most extracts, and some don't know where to put it stuff.
 Assorted goodies, needing to be sorted.  Corner cabinets are tough.  I think I need to get some lazy susans in here.
Overflow again,  crackers, raisens, malt and tea.  The only cabinet I have inventoried so far is the Fruit and spice cabinet.  I do have work to do.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Freezer inventory

Wow.  You can sure fit a lot of food in a refrigerator freezer.  Especially if it is one of the bottom freezers.  I did throw out some unidentified frozens.  New resolution, label everything!  I can see that the inventory sheet is going to be very helpful when putting together meal plans.  As a single retired, I am not used to actually sitting down for a full meal, and usually single course my way through the day, eating often, but not much at one time.  I am also sorting through lots of stuff, getting ready to put my house on the market at some point.  I found an old Richard Simmons "deal a meal" set, and I think I am going to use it to help me when I am menu planning.  Lots of tools out there, just have to actually USE them.  Hopefully next weeks menu plan will be thought out a little better.

8 years ago, the day after my parents 50th anniversary, my father lost his battle with leukemia and graduated from this life to the next.  Miss you, Daddy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Along with the Pantry Challenge this month, I have also decided it is past time to give up the Mt. Dew.  Again.  This is very hard for me, and I have a 12 pack of Sierra Mist (no high fructose corn syrup, no caffeine) to tide me over the first week.  After that is will be just water and juice.  I am also logging everything I eat into my Spark Page, which of course will make me much more aware of food.  I am hoping to make life easier for my knees!
After more than 10 years without a TV, I now have one.  I had an old 21 inch, but when I got the new dvd/vcr player to convert old family videos, I found that the old TV didn't have the hookups needed.  So now I have a 32" flatscreen and a flat antenna that pulls in the networks, Fox and PBS.  Pretty cool, but in order to watch TV, I have to be doing something else, so now I am crocheting again.  The cats are entertained.  This is the pattern I am working on, but with a pink, cranberry, light brown, medium green and ecru colorway.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal plan for the first week of January

My goals for this challenge are to clean out the cubboards and freezer and avoid throwing away food!
Saving money will be a nice side benefit, but not the primary goal.  I live alone and don't always plan the best way to use up food.  I don't mind freezing leftovers, but I hate forgetting that they are there until it is too late to use them.  Time to inventory the freezer!

I finished off the Turkey barley soup for lunch today, and am freezing the rest of the broth.  I need more protein today, so will have tuna salad for dinner, on a bed of fresh spinach. 

Tuesday-  Scambled egg and toast. Smoothie for snack
                Pita bread pizza with homemade sauce and canadian bacon and pineapple
                Big salad with turkey for dinner.

Wednesday- Steel cut oatmeal w/craisens and a smoothie for morning snack
                 Tuna on toast and apple/spinach salad--Making extra creamed tuna to use in casserole on friday
                  Broccoli, turkey and cheddar rice bake--Making extra for lunch tomorrow and to freeze for later

Thursday- Fried egg sandwich, smoothie for snack
                 Leftover rice bake
                 Twice baked potato and Salmon filet--Making extra potatoes to freeze for later meals.

Friday-     Oatmeal w/apples and smoothie for snack
                  Tuna casserole
                  Big salad with turkey

Saturday--Clean up leftovers

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year, new plans- Eating out of the Pantry again!

I am going to start 2012 off with a new "Eat out of the Pantry" challenge.  I am planning on making an inventory of the freezer, refrigerator and canned goods cubboard this week.  I did the fruit and spices cubboard last week, cleaning out the old stuff as I did some rearranging.  I made a tomato sauce last week and am combining it with some already cooked and frozen ground beef and some spaghetti for todays supper. 

I was in Kroger last week after Christmas and they announced a sale on their cooked, then frozen, turkeys, .39 a pound.  I grabbed one, reheated it, then pulled the meat off the bones and simmered the bones for stock with carrots, onions, and some spices.  After cooling it in the refrigerator and skimming off the fat, I am freezing  it in freezer bags in 3 cup portions.  After making a turkey and barley soup, I still have 18 cups of broth!  Great for soups and casseroles, which I see a lot of in the month ahead, as I use up what I have.  I still have a lot of white meat for meals and dark and white shredded for more soups.  I paid less than $5 for that Turkey!