Showing posts with label Food storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food storage. Show all posts

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Not awesome :-(

What's not awesome? Returning home from vacation to find the freezer door wasn't properly shut and everything is (thankfully) cold ... but entirely defrosted. All the ice cream is a loss, and now we are dictating what the kids can eat for lunch each day to get the food eaten.  I made an emergency cobbler to use up some of the defrosted frozen berries, similarly we'll get a round of fruit leathers going tomorrow.  And a massive cook --> freeze session planned for tomorrow. Many  high quality meats will be grilled this week.  I am very grateful that we haven't lost a ton, and obviously that this is not the only food we have.

But, still, not awesome.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Fridge battles

Alex likes having a particular place in the fridge to put her things for the next day's lunch, so she can just grab the stuff, pack it up and go.  She put a little note at one small corner but the sanctity of the space was often violated. So she put up the fridge equivalent of an orange cone.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Failures in Sourdough

More accurately, "failure" as it has only been one attempt. We decided to play around with dehydrating the starter just in case we go away for more than a week and are unable to get the thing fed when it gets hungry. The drying was super easy! Just smear a bunch of the discard on a piece of parchment paper and leave it out until it's all dried. Calgary being what it is, that took about a day. Just kidding. But it wasn't long.

The next step of course is trying to re-hydrate it. This is where things got a bit rocky. Mostly because we didn't follow instructions and didn't actually measure/weigh anything. We were just adding water and flour all willy-nilly. It started out looking like it might work, and eventually became clear we had sludge.

Back to the drawing board!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

How do we eat? Turns out, pretty well

For four weeks now (or is it five?), my only car rides have been to the grocery store.  Our shopping list gets longer each week, and each week we seem to manage to eat most of whatever we've bought.

The Canadian stores, like ones in the USA and elsewhere, have been short on toilet paper (which we only notice with a researcher's disinterest, as we are still working off our usual Costco stock) and yeast (this one was becoming a problem - then a friend dropped off sourdough starter and we're working on our first loaf for right after Passover) and flour (I got the last bag of unbleached in the entire store on the last trip).  The line-up-and-wait-to-go-in that we'd seen in photos from the USA have arrived. One visit to our usual grocery store had store employees wiping down shopping carts before handing them off to individual shoppers, another time at the same store the carts were just sitting out with no attendance. Tape marked off at six-foot distances for the line to check out is universal, and cause the lines to snake through a full half of the store's perimeter sometimes. Store hours are universally shortened, 8am-8pm with 7-8am opened for seniors and others who need more social distancing.  The last trip to the store I wasn't allowed to bring my own bags into the store.  It's running 7-10 days to get a pickup spot. We waffle between whether it is better to go ourselves or do the pickup option. We finally decided the employee is in the store anyway, taking our bodies out of the store should be one less possible vector of infection so we have an order placed and ready to pick up ... a week from now.  In anticipation of this we got 2 weeks' worth of groceries, although of course we're getting low on fresh produce.

We're waiting for the day the kinds of severe restrictions on mobility we see in some other countries come here - requiring papers to be outside your home or only 3 hours a day to be outside. Alberta''s spike is expected to start in a couple of weeks, so we expect the harsher measures then. In the meantime we have been building our stores of leftovers and, while not hoarding, trying to have a bit of an extra stockpile. Terry has been joking about scurvy and it is annoyingly sinking in. For those who are also wondering, it takes a month of no vitamin C for scurvy to really start showing symptoms. You're welcome.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our stuff!

The day after the "psych out" I was certain something new would arise to prevent the resumption of cohabitation between my stuff and my family.  Our stuff was scheduled to arrive at 13:00. At 12:30 I was starting to get ready to go home, because if they say your stuff is coming, you go home even if you think they are teasing you.  The phone rang and the voice on the other end of the line said "The boxes are here early. Can you come home now?"

Well, duh.

These movers were fabulous. Very helpful, respectful, calling out the box numbers for me to check off my own handmade list (also good practice for Russian three digit numbers recall) and patiently waiting while I figured out which room each box should be put in.  The unpacking got overwhelming, and in several cases I had to tell the movers to stop unpacking things because a pile on the floor needs immediate attention whereas a pile neatly boxed can wait until tomorrow if necessary and there is a critical threshold of floorspace that cannot be cleared in a day.

As expected, everything was cold. Some things frozen solid (shampoo).  Some things exactly the right chilly temperature for enjoyment immediately (Yeungling).  We put all the items that, once cold, should probably not resume room temperature in one bedroom's balcony and opened the window to the outside.  We now have until April or May to consume everything located therein.

And for some other items, we now play the game of "can this, frozen and then thawed, be safely consumed?"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bringing home the bacon

This week I had my first business trip, to Almaty.  Part of my job is meeting with people doing work in different parts of Kazakhstan. It was a good trip, productive professionally and a good time personally to see another part of this enormous country.  Our hotel's dining room was on the top floor so when I walked in for breakfast yesterday I gawked like a country yokel at the stunning mountains that overlook the city. If Terry helps me I will upload the photos from my phone.

There was no time for sightseeing but I did manage to eat Indian and Vietnamese food so I was pretty happy. I also had an expedition to the grocery store. It is well known among the Astana embassy crowd that when in Almaty one must pick up some food items that are not sold in Astana. Sadly, the cheddar cheese was completely sold out - Philly cream cheese took up its old space on the shelf (one of the store workers brought me to exactly where the cheddar was).

I did, however, manager to snag a few pounds of bacon. My original intent was to fill the insulated lunch bag I'd brought for the purpose, then when I saw the price tag ($15) I decided Terry could savor the occasional strip.  I got the bacon into the hotel minibar fridge. The next morning I had to request ice from the hotel, then fill a Ziplock I'd brought for that purpose in an attempt to keep the bacon cold throughout a day of meetings and flight back to Astana.

When I got to our apartment tonight, some of the ice was indeed still solid, and the meat was still cool enough that I felt safe keeping it.

There is now absolutely no doubt who in this household brings home the bacon!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A dedication

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday was a photo of our freezer. You can see the ironing board on one side, and a folding chair folded up on the other. We hope that's enough to get a sense of the size of the thing.

Ida, we dedicate this post to you, and hope to make it to Berlin one day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Eating out of the pantry

Back when we thought I would start working in January we started to load up the freezer with dinners and leftovers to make weeknight mealtimes easier. Then it didn't happen. Then we realized we didn't have any more plastic containers. Or room in the freezer for anything. We also realized that our budget had sort of relied on a second paycheck starting in February, so there was some rejiggering to do there.

All of that combined to produce the "pantry challenge". I am 100% confident we can live off our pantry for at least one week, excepting a few weekly necessities. I have allotted $20 as part of the challenge to load up on milk, eggs and fruit. Depending on what kind of dent we make, the challenge might run 2 weeks. I'll post how it goes.

Tonight we're serving up leftovers from our housewarming party last night. Pumpkin and spinach ziti, or Spanish rice? It's fun to have options.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Today was the first in what I believe will be a series of trips to our local orchard for apple "seconds'. From today's haul I filled all 6 trays of the dehydrator with apple chips; saved about 5-6 of the best looking apples for eating; and made 3 quarts and 4 pints of applesauce (canned) and 2 12-ounce jars of sauce for eating right away. Plus, the Dutch oven is filled with peels and cores to process into pectin for next year's jam.

This bounty came from a half bushel of mixed apples. Next time, I'll get a full bushel.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Reusable Sandwich Bags

In preparation for school and knowing Alex will eat nearly nothing of the hot lunch options, I asked my mom to pick up some reusable sandwich bags (thanks mom!). My mom likes to shop. She really, really likes to shop. So, in the end we have a plethora of bags from 3 different companies. I've now had a couple of weeks to use the bags and figured now was a good time to review them.

Lunchskins: These are made from a tough canvas, sailcloth-like fabric. Very sturdy. I like the simple designs and the space for writing a kid's name. However, the wonderful tough cloth makes it a little hard to turn them inside out, which I like to do to ensure a thorough washing.
Green Lizard Reusable Sandwich Bag

ReUsies: These are hands down my favorites. They are more cloth-y than either of the other brands, which makes washing them easier. They are roomier than either other brand too - the snack size is almost as big as the sandwich size of the PlanetWise. Plus, they have 2 vertical strips of velcro for the closure so that whatever size ends up in the bag, you can wrap or double wrap so it fits just right. Both other brands have the one horizontal velcro closure.
Peace Flower Two Pack

PlanetWise: These were the cutest, I love the little owls. Unfortunately, these are also the smallest and seem to have shrunk a bit even though I always hand wash them. This means that I can't put in a full sandwich unless I use a loaf of homemade bread, which is a good deal smaller than the commercial brand we like.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Orange Juice

When we went home for R and R we had to hire a gardener because there was no way we'd keep up with this jungle after being gone a whole month. The guy did an amazing job (with Terry's promotion maybe we can hire him more often!) and one thing he did was pick all the oranges off our trees and leave them in bags for us. The oranges are a bit bitter but incredibly juicy, so one afternoon while Alex and I took a nap, Terry went and juiced the whole thing. He'll post photos of his hard work.

The experience prompted him to go buy an electric juicer. This will also help with our massive lemonade campaign during the summer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mythical lamb sausage

I think I wrote a while back that we finally found a butcher that Terry deems worthy enough to supply us with animal flesh. They happen to be the one closest to us, which is great. Well, this being a 98% catholic country nobody has really created a market for not-pig processed food items like sausage.

However, a decent portion of the 2% not-catholic is muslim and there is a small community in our area. Our butcher told me about 5 months ago that they did make lamb sausage but only in small batches and only once a week, and that only one butcher in the shop was authorized to make it (leading me to believe it is halal). Since then, I have asked about this lamb sausage no fewer than a dozen times. Either they sold out, or didn't make it that week, or forgot to make it, or something. I started to think it was just a big joke and there really was no lamb sausage. I even left my name and phone number one time so they could call me when there was sausage ready to buy.

My mom heard me talk about the lamb sausage and decided she was going to get some before she left Malta. She spoke with one of the butchers who told her it is only available by pre-order (not that anyone ever told me this!) so she went ahead and ordered a batch and ... miracle of miracles, when she went to pick it up on the designated day, they had it ready and waiting for her!

After all the anticipation, it was only OK. For sausage, it was not very seasoned.

When we go home in February, although Terry is fighting me on this point since he doesn't care either way, we ARE going to Bolton's for their turkey sausage and turkey bacon. I have never had better. If I also get a whole chicken to roast while there Terry may stop giving me grief about it.