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41  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: 2014 DeStash-Along on: June 19, 2014 02:42:32 PM
The only way I am taking any tshirt backs off your hands is if you cut it all into tshirt yarn first because OMG that takes FOREVER lol!

I'm going to use my tshirt stash as rags actually, thanks for the suggestion. I have a major cleaning project coming up and you know what? Cleaning supplies are expensive and such a joke, the cloths mostly fall apart or they get so gross you've gotta toss 'em anyhow.

I am going to post pics for you guys by August of this massive project. I know that seems like a long time but this is the biggest thing I've ever attempted so... there you go Wink Cheesy.
42  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 19, 2014 03:50:53 AM
I am so tired after a trip the grocery store, it's all I can do to just get things put away, never mind any prep! I need a kitchen helper. I do have children but honestly having them help with requires twice as much energy as doing it on my own, ha.
It's too late to grow much this year but it's going to happen next year for sure. I don't have much space for it but I don't care, I'm going to use All there is Smiley.
43  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 18, 2014 05:06:26 PM
I am organized but not in that sort of consistent way, it's impressive Smiley.
The kitchen here is wee and the dining room awkward. When we move I'll attempt some meal planning and use a few of the excellent cookbooks I've got, there are great books at the library too. I'm going to see about getting a group together as well to do bulk cooking to freeze. I see those vacuum sealers at the thrift store now and then so will get one to make the meals airtight so they'll last longer.

I get free food at work now and then so that informs a lot of my cooking, for dinners anyhow. Tonight it's (free) hot-dogs (not something I would ever choose but these are excellent, locally produced with good ingredients) on locally baked buns with chopped cherry tomatoes, saurkraut that I made and (free) guacamole. My kids are really happy and so am I since I worked late and am exhausted tonight Tongue.
I have the day off tomorrow (well, I'm babysitting for a co-worker but I can at least stay home) so I'll get the fridge cleaned out and organized and do some cooking. The crock pot can go out on the balcony so as not to heat up the house, I love it for that Smiley.
44  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 17, 2014 06:42:03 PM
I work in a grocery store. The first month the manager reported to me that I was the top customer. I spent $900. I confess this to you because I know you will not judge me. I really, REALLY hope I have managed to get that in check but I'm about to ask them to see how much better I'm doing. $400/month is my goal.
45  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 16, 2014 08:48:14 PM
I have a spiralizer, it is the least used of my kitchen tools :/. What are you guys making with that thing? The kids think zucchini pasta is ridiculous.

A huge percentage of what we eat comes from local sources. While some of it oddly costs a bit more I manage to balance the budget by making certain things a priority and others can be purchased more inexpensively elsewhere or done without if possible. I work for a local organic food co-op and that sort of food is pretty important to me so I probably won't be ordering online unless it's from a food box delivery service from a local farm. CSA (community supported agriculture) is an amazing option, frugal, local, healthy, and seasonal. . It's pretty neat to learn how to prepare food from what's available around you. I still buy coconut oil and manuka honey but so much comes from right around here, I love that Smiley.
46  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 16, 2014 07:13:35 PM
Yum to all that stuff MareMare! I did not cook tonight, one kid got into the cereal and I told her she would be eating that for dinner instead of wasting the enormous portion she'd poured for herself Angry and the other kid did not do his chore of washing dishes for me so I fed him cottage cheese and a dried meat stick. I was not a happy mama this evening. And I ate half a bag of chips for dinner myself. And drank wine. After a long day of work there is only so much more I've got in me...

"I just want to come home and have it there, ready to eat!"
Well that is exactly what the freezer is for Smiley. Combining bulk cooking with meal planning might work well to remember to use up frozen food stuffs, also to make amounts that are going to get used up before freezer burn etc.
There are lots of cooking groups that get together at each other's homes or community kitchens and split the expense and work of batch cooking. They make things like lasagna, casserole, soup and stews and chili, also some baked goods that freeze well or ready-to-bake dough that freezes. Canning too. That's a great way to end up with a few of the same dish but not so many that you'll never eat them all up. It's fun too Smiley.

I'm putting a pressure canner on my wish-list for preserving things without the addition of acid. I'm really looking forward to building a pantry in our new place.
47  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 16, 2014 04:02:04 PM
Oh, it is so super easy. I don't follow any sort of measurements because it turns out great no matter what. Here are some rough instructions but really, do whatever!
Saute well-washed leeks (I use the white and the green part both) in butter or oil with a little garlic until starting to get transparent (optional additions: onions and celery), add chopped potatoes (skin on or off, your choice) and saute for a 10 mins or so. Add stock to cover all, bay leaf, TONS of fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste (optional: fresh or dried parsley). Simmer until potatoes are soft. Cool slightly, remove bay leaf and puree in a blender small batches at a time or use an immersion blender in the pot. Careful not to splash yourself!
Re-heat by portions as needed and garnish with either cubes of cheese (cheese bombs!), sour cream, yogurt, heavy cream, grated Parmesan, crumbled fried bacon, chopped up sausages, fresh shelled peas slightly cooked while heating the soup, or chopped herbs of any kind.
Freezes very well Smiley.
48  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Meal Planning and Prep Cook-Along on: June 16, 2014 03:46:17 PM
I am so busy right now, it's disgusting. Blech. But I'll follow along and chime in now and then Smiley.
We lived on a farm (and also in college when I was Very broke roomie and I lost our entire kitchen food stores to grain moths) so I keep everything in mason jars, NO plastic at all 'cause they get in there, the mice and the moths. It's easy to see what and how much you've got at a glance and it keeps things fresh.
For bulk cooking I will buy organic celery when it's on sale and saute it with some onion and garlic then flat pack into ziplocks and freeze it. I do this also with onions, many pounds at a time run through the food processor then carmelized. This is Hours of work but only once instead of many times. Then I just break a piece off whenever I want to add some deliciousness to a quick meal. I will do this with raw liver too, puree in a food processor and flat pack to freeze then break off a piece to add to whatever I'm cooking. We need iron and this is the best way to get it, never taste the liver at all either. I add that to soups, stews, sauces, roasts, casseroles, etc.
I also cook large batches of oatmeal then chill it in the fridge in a large covered glass dish. I slice off pieces and fry in butter or coconut oil for quick delicious breakfast, the kids love that.
I make a LOT of potato leek soup and freeze that too, if I've made a soup the kids don't like I can cut it with this and they magically think it's ever so tasty Cheesy.
I make giant batches of hummus and freeze serving size containers of it, other bean dips too. That's great as a veg dip or spread for wraps or added in a spoonful to salads or thinned for dressing or used as the base for a bean soup or a layer in a casserole.
I cook beans from scratch but rather than one serving at a time I'll cook a whole pot full and then freeze it in portions to add to whatever, saves overnight soaking and 4 hours of boiling every time!
Sometimes I roast all the veg and things that are going to go off in the fridge then freeze in ziplocks. Reduces waste.
Zucchini is prolific, if you grow it in summer you'll have Way more than you can ever use. I grate it fresh then freeze flat packed for zucchini bread and to use as an addition to oatmeal, soups, etc. Peeled if you don't want kids to know it's there!
I freeze all the fruit that starts to get to ripe and let the kids make soft serve ice cream whenever they want with a thing we got called a Yonana. They can put it together, use it, and clean it themselves easily. AWESOME fun breakfast.
If we're doing a lot of smoothies I'll make up portions of everything (fruit, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, bee pollen, green powder, whatever) and freeze them (in small mason jars). I put one into the fridge at night and it's ready to dump into the blender with some juice in the AM for a quick smoothie breakfast.
That's a lot of info, whew! Not all I'd like to do though. I'd really love some more bulk cooking when I find a chest freezer for a good price, more dehydrating, and meal planning which I am just not great at.
49  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Re: Sophie and Doufi on: June 14, 2014 04:19:12 PM
I had one that was riding hood on one end, gramma on the other and under gramma's cap was the wolf! You could pull the cap over gramma's face to expose him in her cap and gown. It was awesome. I think I might have a pattern for that too somewhere. Stash. It's like a treasure trove sometimes.
50  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Re: Sophie and Doufi on: June 13, 2014 05:53:41 PM
This is really cool. I've got a pattern for an awake/asleep dolly that would work well like this. They look so incredibly freaky undressed though, lol.
Love all your details, thanks for sharing Smiley.
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