Running out of Room……..

I’ve run out of room and need to start a new site at https://gardnerh.home.blog/

Advertisements

Meal Planning Week 1

I decided to try my hand at meal planning now that retirement is officially kicking in. I’m quite bored with all of the things I normally cook and we found last spring we were eating take-out much more frequently than we should.

Decision #1 – Start with Supper. Planning all of the breakfasts, lunches and suppers seems a little overwhelming right now so I’m just starting with 7 nights of supper. I’m also not sure of the boys’ schedules so leftovers may take care of several lunches.

Decision #2 – Sick of our current dishes, I hit up the Hello Fresh website for inspiration and found the following very tasty looking recipes. Thanks Hello Fresh.

Decision #3 – Stay away from the grocery store.  I decided to take advantage of the introductory coupon at the local grocery for online ordering and delivery.  I saved $20 on the order, and delivery was free once I reached their monetary threshold.  I did, however, make the mistake of asking DH is we needed anything additional and he started going through the circular and adding additional items (what I’m trying to stay away from) – butter, Mac-n-cheese, yogurt….  The estimate on the order is $149.62 (aghhhhh) but that does not take into consideration some additional reductions – we’re hoping it’s closer to $85.00.  I’ll update the numbers after the order arrives.

Decision #4 – Prep everything after delivery.  I’ll post some photos when the food arrives.

I’ll also post the resulting dishes as I complete them each evening.

Sprucing Up Inside – The Pantry

This week, I found the most beautiful and inspiring pantry photos on an Instagram feed called Dawn2lldusk.  I decided I didn’t want the invest the funds necessary to make a look-alike, but I could make mine much more tidy and streamlined.

My home canned items were getting lost and forgotten on a lower shelf. They won’t be finding a new home, but living on the table until we use them up.  Our new policy is, rather than Marie Kondo’s “Does it bring me joy”, “Do we want to pay someone to more this to the east coast in 2 years.  Canning jars (unless they are beautiful vintage jars or part of my Weck collection) do not make the cut, neither do canning jars full of food.  When we finally settle in our retirement home, any needed jars can be replaced.

I moved some of the salt glazed pottery into the pantry to hold utensils.  I love these pieces with their names and dates and locations – – they make me wonder about the people and places they honor.  The large cupboard at the end of the pantry hides the extra foodstuffs neatly behinds its doors with jars of pasta on top.  The upper shelf of the pantry has canning supplies – lids, rings, pressure canner, water bath canner and some supplies for wine and beer making.  The lower shelves hold the vacuum sealer, the dehydrator, and the Weck canning jars and accessories.  The floor has a box and a basket for the iron and more canning supplies.

Decluttering – Bedside Table

The bedside table is a clutter magnet. It holds so many items that I would not need for bedtime – a passport, scissors, a couple of lighters – as well as quite a bit that is helpful for bedtime – my Kindle, facial tissues, reading glasses, and sheets.

I decided to zone the drawers as I went through them. The top is definitely bedtime – remotes, medications, a hand lotion or two.  Next is office supplies.  I don’t have a proper desk area so this drawer has some electronic items, pens and pencils, some papers I need to go through and a couple of journals.  The bottom two drawers have linens – sheets and pillow cases.

I also did a quick declutter on the top.  Now it feels pretty when I wake up every morning.

Sprucing Up – The Living Room Garden

This area had the last two rotting window boxes so they had to go.  It also has some very overgrown currants (we don’t really like black currants or the smell of the black currant plants), a few out -of-control blackberries and some huge, but beautiful, hydrangea plants.

7/29

  • Remove the window boxes. ✔
  • Start the paint from the window box removal. ✔
  • Trim the currants. ✔

7/30

  • Finish the paint from the window box removal. ✔
  • Trim the hydrangea ✔
  • Weed ✔
  • Rescue the birdbath ✔

8/1

  • Wash the windows ✔
  • Begin the bark mulch ✔

8/4

  • Start laying edging ✔

8/6

  • Finish edging✔
  • Finish bark mulch✔

Fig Newtons(ish)

INGREDIENTS:

For the fillings

  • 500 g. (18 oz. or 10 large) fresh figs
  • 250 g. (9 oz. or 1 1/4 cups) sugar
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract.

For the cookie

  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 sticks butter
  • 1/3 cups + 1 T sugar
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 T milk
  • 3 large egg yolks

Instructions:

For the filling

  1. Cut figs into eights
  2. Combine all ingredients into a pot.  Cook until reduced by half, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

For the cookie

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder to combine.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy.
  3. Add maple syrup, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Add the egg yolks one at a time alternating with a third of the flour mixture.
  5. Bring the dough together and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

Assembling the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Using one piece, lightly knead the dough to make it pliable.
  3. Roll out the dough into a square of wax paper. (roughly 10″ x10″)
  4. Trim the edges so the square is even, then cut square in.
  5. Add a finger thick strip of jam along the center of one of the halves.
  6. Fold one third of the dough over the preserves. Fold the remaining one third of the dough over that making a log. Transfer the log onto a silpat lined cookie sheet and flatten it out slightly.
  7. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces of dough.
  8. Bake the bars for 20 min or until slightly golden.  Cut the freshly baked bars into 2 in. cookies.
  9. Allow the cookies to rest overnight.

Results:

Yummy but way too much trouble.  These took two days to make and the cookie dough is fragile and temperamental.

Asian Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head red cabbage – shredded
  • 4 green onion – thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 carrots – shaved
  • 1/8 c cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/3 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t red pepper flakes
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t garlic salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 package ramen noodles – noodles only – crushed
  • 1 c cocktail peanuts – roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large jarl, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, soy, sesame oil, pepper flakes, garlic powder, garlic salt and black pepper.  Whisk to emulsify.
  2. Combine the cabbage, onion, carrots and cilantro in a large bowl.
  3. Add the dressing and mix to combined.  Cover and chill for at 2 hours.
  4. Crush the ramen noodles and place on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 350°F for 10-12 minutes until golden. Cool completely.
  5. Just before serving add the noodles and peanuts.