Saturday: Sam stopped by this morning to bring us some Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding he'd made. It tastes pretty good. The texture is a little different, somewhat closer to what I always thought a Blancmange might have (I've never had Blancmange by the way, just read recipes for it).
We had bagels for breakfast, some of those I made last week. They are so easy and so good. I'll definitely keep making them at home.
Our lunch today was Lentil Tacos. We had about a cup of taco filler leftover. I suggested we might make nachos for lunch one day. We also discussed trying the Bolognese sauce recipe I found online (or better yet, our own favorite home recipe) which uses lentils as the meat substitute. John agreed. He might not have considered it properly had he not been eating lentil tacos while we discussed this, lol. Strike when the iron is hot!
When we eat a carb heavy breakfast (such as bagels) I try not to have a carb heavy lunch or supper. I didn't balance things as well today but lentils do have a high fiber content. If you subtract the fiber count from carb count, you get the true carb count; then look at protein counts you'll find that some dried beans are actually a good protein option and not quite as carb heavy as you think. Dried beans/lentils make a complex carbohydrate which don't cause blood sugar spikes for some. I find I do quite well with dried beans but I do try to balance my carb meals out.
Katie ran out to borrow yeast. I keep extra packets on hand because it's easy to pass along if someone needs to borrow some. She was going to try her hand at bread for the first time. Honestly it's beautiful! None of my first loaves ever turned out half so nice.
I watched a vlog last night and the woman had gone to shop at one of her city stores that is a super store. I was surprised at her reaction to the egg case. "WHERE are all the eggs?!" she demanded of the camera. I was surprised because in the case behind her were more eggs than I typically see in any store in our shopping areas when there hasn't been panic buying or snow predicted. I'd wager there was at least as many as I'd ever seen at Sam's club back in the day when I shopped there. Before we panic while making or watching these videos we might just take into account that it's a matter of perspective as to what constitutes a 'scarcity' and what might well look like plenty to others. Empty shelves are one thing, but a few full fridge cases of eggs might well look like a gold mine to one in an area where there truly are no eggs at all.
In the 'good news' realm, I saw a new story where a tractor trailer filled with toilet paper (75,000 rolls) had been stolen in North Carolina. The state troopers soon tracked it down, offloaded it into a new trailer and had it dispatched to the stores where it was headed. Go NC State Patrol! lol
Meals today: Homemade Bagels with cream cheese, coffee
Lentil Tacos with all the fixings, chocolate snack cake
Savory Corn Cakes and Sausages
Sunday: I've had a pleasant morning thus far. We rose a little late due to interrupted sleep (weather aches I think) and I made us breakfast. I went out to feed the dogs and cat and discovered that the purple iris is now blooming. There's a bed next to the grey shed, white and deep purple mixed and I blessed the luck I'd had in placing them there, because naturally none of them were blooming at the time and I had no idea I'd put in a mix. Lovely!
After we'd eaten, I straightened up my closet. Though the heat has come on this morning, I went right ahead and moved all my winter clothing to the farther end of the rod and moved all the lighter weight things over to the end I typically will dress from. I will take time either later today, or certainly sometime this week to put together a Spring capsule wardrobe. I realized that with what I had from last year plus my recent choices for spring this year, I simply do not need much except a couple of white tee shirts and a new pair of white jeans that fit a bit better.
I have contemplated attempting to alter the white pants I have which are a sort of cotton duck material. It's a possibility I'll hold on to. I've had the pants now for 5 years (oh my!) and they aren't in bad shape, just a bit baggy in the wrong places. I'd planned to move them to household clothing but I'll hold off a bit.
Besides white t-shirts and possibly white jeans I'd like a few new accessories and when I do see something I like I'll purchase it. I never have too much costume jewelry. I tend to cycle through using a few pieces each season and then will change things up midway if I've tired of them. Leopard shoes, scarf and possibly purse are still on my wish list as well as a pair of comfortable white sandals and a decent pair of tennis shoes. Small wants overall.
I spent some time chatting with Dora (Gramma D to you all) while our church service ran through the music program. John and I watched from here at home this morning and I enjoyed 'visiting' with her even if it was a virtual visit. Then we enjoyed our pastor's sermon.
I made up a pan of rice (1 cup brown rice 2 cups of water) and cooked it while service was on. It takes longer to cook brown rice, but honestly after 4 years of eating whole wheat pastas and brown rice, I just plain like it better than white pastas or rice. I never did quite grasp liking whole wheat bread in the same way. Now that I'm comfortable with diabetes and my levels are within a really good range, I pretty much eat what I like best and balance it with things I've come to like better.
For our midday meal we had the Brunswick Stew Katie made. Glad I made the rice. That stew had a nice spicy edge to it that needed the tempering the rice gave it. We ate some of Sam's Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding after. Nice to have a 'delivery' meal, lol.
This afternoon I was reading blogs and once again was struck by the wisdom of the Church Of Latter Day Saints urging homemakers and householders to create food storage.
Quite a few years ago I received a slight reprimand from someone, because I shared something I found inspirational and it was Mormon based. I might not be Mormon, but I do believe there is wisdom to be found in many places. I am not a snob when it comes to what is obviously sound advice. Wisdom is not exclusive to one gender, race, religion or denomination. I am not a follower of Buddha but I do find some of his observations wise ones.
If you have never had food storage and under present circumstances are reconsidering the wisdom of that and/or do not know what to make with things you do have in storage seek out Mormon sites both on YouTube and blogs and learn. These women are all too willing to share their wisdom and experience. I've been following Becky's Frugal Measures for years, as well as Brandy's The Prudent Homemaker. Becky shares a wealth of links to various sites that include information on recipes, how-to, and storage. Brandy has tried and true recipes that her family eats seasonally, as well as homeschooling helps. I've never yet tried one of Brandy's recipes that I didn't like. Her recipes have the added bonus of being frugal as well as nutritious.
The first principle of the Mormon approach to food storage is to store what your family will eat. If your family hates pork and beans or don't like canned greens then don't stock them! The second principle they follow: create a home notebook in which you not only keep an inventory of your food storage but of recipes you'd normally use that are tried and true, old family favorites.
Be sure to check out the two sites I've linked here.
Meals today: Cheese and Buttered Toasts, Coffee/Tea
Brunswick Stew over Rice, Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
Sliced Roast Chicken Breast, Broccoli Rice Casserole, Salad
(Chicken and Broccoli Casserole were leftovers in the fridge)
Monday: Misty foggy day today. Hard not to let weather combined with being at home so much get to you. I went about the house and opened shades and curtains first thing. Natural light always helps lift the mood even if the sun isn't shining. I also turned on a lamp in the living room. That chases gloom as well.
Stripped the bed and our bath and put all to wash in hot water with bleach. Noted later as I was folding one of my towels that it plainly states to wash in cold only and use no bleach but will assure you that I've noticed absolutely no compromise in the fabric or the colors. I've also noted that the 'sour' smell that some laundry seems to hold on to even after line drying is not present either.
John helped me remake the bed. I cleaned our bathroom.
I boiled eggs for breakfast. I'll put the shells in the compost, but the water I used to boil eggs was allowed to cool and then watered my orchids and little Australian fern. This water is calcium rich and very good for plants.
I pulled April issues of vintage magazines to read even though I've got three more (found one I missed) March issues to scroll through. Did I share that John very much wanted me to choose a magazine a few weeks ago at the grocery? He did...and there was one I was more than a little tempted to buy, but I just couldn't bear to pay the price for that magazine when I might have a vintage one for about the same sum and get years of enjoyment from it. I told him that as I put the magazine back.
After doing laundry, making breakfast and cleaning house, I decided a kitchen morning was in order. I pulled every leftover and bit of food we bought last grocery shop from the fridge. Yes, all of it.
I have often read the Dave Ramsey quote about assigning your money a purpose, telling it where to go. It has worked well in my finances and I figured it would work well with my foods, as well. I prepped foods and as I put them in the fridge, I assigned each item a purpose. I made a label for each item that I stuck to the top of the lid stating what was in the container and what I meant to do with it. So the label on the broccoli said "Use as side for..." and named the meal I plan to use it with. I also dated each item I'd prepped as a reminder to use it up asap. The only item I didn't know what to do with was extra grated carrot. I'm thinking I'll use in my chicken pot pie, because John doesn't care for cooked carrots but shredded ones he will eat just fine.
I made stripped the remaining meat from the chicken and divided into two portions. I set one portion aside for chicken pot pie. I have just enough to make two single portion pies. The other portion I used in today's lunch. I put the chicken broth in the freezer with some other broth I had already frozen. I removed the schmaltz from the top of the broth and used a portion today but froze the rest of that.
When I put the prepped items back into the fridge, each item that went into a particular meal plan was stacked together. I can easily see that I have four planned meals that are partially prepped.
I prepped celery and carrot sticks and the remaining boiled eggs for John to snack upon. I also noted the oranges in the fruit bowl were beginning to get that worn look about them. I sliced them all up and put them in a container also marked "SNACKS". Sliced oranges are more appealing than one that is sitting in a bowl beginning to look a bit wrinkly. It's a fact.
Took time to write out a check for a bill that came in and because we are not going to be going on vacation (we were meant to leave today...cancelled on Saturday), I wrote a check and made a deposit for that and cash money we'd planned to use to go back into savings. We'll tag that as vacation funds. We'd each put our last allowances in the envelope with the vacation cash as well. I won't put that back in the bank. I'll put mine aside and save for a new bottle of perfume for Spring/Summer or some other item that I want to splurge upon later on.
Meals today: Oatmeal Muffins (freezer) and Boiled Eggs
Chicken Fried Rice, Cucumber Slices and Egg Roll
Meatloaf, Italian Peasant Vegetables
Tuesday: I was fine most all day yesterday, but last night I felt a little bit down when I went to bed. I mused that in a different world, one that hadn't spun off out of control, I'd have been going to bed after watching the moonlight glimmer on the ocean last night...and some special meal we wouldn't have had at home, eaten far too late on the balcony.
Girls, I woke in a semi mood this morning and gloomed at the day before me...but then I began to read on instagram and in emails and posts that every one has been filled to the brim with a malaise of sorts, a side effect of this mess that has wreaked havoc on all our lives. It's going around faster than the CoVid19 and really is nothing in the world but the blue funk.
Truth is, all the current changes and all the unknowns have even the most stoic amongst us a bit bewildered and a teensy bit anxious because everyone's routine is upset and changed in some manner. There are so many unknowns at the moment and entirely too many questions: do we have enough food to last? Will we be put on lock downs? Can we get to the grocery and if we do, will there be anything to purchase? Should I have done this, that, two other things? Why didn't I listen to my own heart and do x, y, z? Oh the questions and reproaches that rise up! They buzz like so many pesky gnats and irritate and upset no end even if we think to ourselves, "I'm not really worried/scared/anxious." Well honey, admit it, face it, pick it apart and then get over it!
I jumped up this morning and took pictures of my laundry, back entry and kitchen. I was going to do the whole house but (a) John was sitting right there in the dining room and for some reason he gets mighty antsy when I'm taking photos of the house. For one thing he feels sure I'll catch him in a shot and it will be unflattering and every one will see it. And (b) he's a little anxious about having his house on display lest someone see some personal information or have a sudden desire to rob us of a piece of our second hand furniture.
Now I'm not being as catty as I sound. The truth is the man was robbed years ago, three times in a two month period. I guess I'd have a few qualms myself if I were him. His neighborhood was slowly being taken over by less than desirable sorts and he lived in a big city, not out in the back side of the rural sticks as we do. But I'm the last to sneer at anyone's trauma. I've had my own. It sticks with you even if you are brave and strong. It just does.
And then there is (c) my final reason. I was so overwhelmed by the lot of work in those three areas that I decided I'd best not take anymore photos of any other areas, lest I find myself right back in that blue funk I'd squirmed away from and settled back into my chair to scroll through YouTube all day long instead.
It took a little while but those areas look better. Not perfect. Better. I was inspired to do little extra things and put out a new piece here or there. Truth is when I share my post on the 'after' portion, I'm going to have to take a new photo of several spaces because I've changed them up again!
But that work did it's magic. I began to feel purposeful and happy and satisfied and it didn't matter that I'm at home and will be for the foreseeable future or until grocery day rolls around again (about 8 more days, not that I'm counting or anything).
Meals today: Pancakes and Fried Turkey Spam (Pancakes from freezer)
Nachos with Taco Lentils and toppings (so good...must try that Lentil Bolognese!)
Hamburger Steak, Wild Rice, Broccoli with Cheese, chocolate pudding
(I made up two burgers last night before I added tomato sauce to the meat mix for meatloaf; broccoli was leftovers and now I have leftover wild rice mix to figure out how I'll use it)
We ate late tonight, almost 7pm...John mowed our yard then went over to help Sam finish mowing his. I washed a full load of dishes after dinner and air dried them.
Wednesday: I woke at 5am this morning to hear heavy rain pounding the roof, wind blowing rain against windows and felt rather puzzled. Not one prediction we'd see rain last night. None. Yet there it was and I couldn't help but think it sounded like God was determined to cleanse the place the way it pounded.
When I got up a couple of hours later, the sun was shining, the trees were fully leafed out and the world sparkled as well it ought to have done! The flowers looked none the worse for wear despite the evidence of heavy wind.
I stood looking out at the bed about the Faith tree this morning and though it looked pretty rough overall. I'd determined that tomorrow morning I'd head outdoors to clean the porches up a bit. I don't mean that I'll be bleaching away the mildew but that I want to clear the stuff that collects over fall and winter and clean the tables and chairs and such.
So with that decision this morning, it was to the bedroom I headed after breakfast. I had two totes in that room that were on opposite sides of the room and I wanted them out of sight. One is files we must keep and the other is my genealogy stuff. I started shifting things about in the closet and managed to make room for both to sit side by side. I was pretty pleased over that. Then I sorted through the warranty file box (much smaller) and removed those that went with items we no longer have for one reason or another.
While I was involved with that task, Bess texted asking if she could be the cliche neighbor and borrow a cup of sugar, lol. I told her to come on over, I had some to spare. She brought a sweet little girl with her so John and I passed a happy hour chatting with Bess and snuggling baby girl. When they got ready to leave, Millie began to fuss. I smiled a little imagining it as just the first of many times she'd fuss when leaving my home.
After Bess went home, I finished up the tasks in the bedroom and made us lunch.
Now this is just the way my own mind works. I consider the morning hours my working hours and if I stop for a visit then I still 'owe' my house some time. So after lunch, I cleared the kitchen, then gathered compost can and a bag of shredded paper to go into the compost bin behind my shed. I carried keys to the shed out with me but stopped on my way around the edge of the back porch to weed the flower bed that runs down the length of the porch. John came out and asked if I had the shop keys, as he'd determined to do a bit of work outdoors.
So after searching my shed for an item Katie had asked if I might have (I didn't), I decided I'd head indoors and get the box of things meant for the shed from the guest room. On my way, I walked over to the Faith tree and tackled those weeds in that bed. I kept having to stop to move branches we'd piled in that flower bed over winter. Just as I headed indoors for the box, John came along with the mower with his wagon attached and asked if I had anything to throw into the wagon. "Well there's a lot of branches around Faith tree, but my back is aching from bending over weeding..." I said this as I snatched up another bunch of weeds, mind you...But when he said "I'll get 'em," I told him I was going indoors to get a box I meant to put in the shed.
He worked pretty fast, because by the time I'd gotten the box and slid it all the way to the backdoor he was on the porch ready to take up my box and dropped it in the wagon and hauled it across the yard for me. I really appreciated that! The box was full of breakables and was big and awkward. I walked over to the shed behind him and organized things as I took them from the box. Then I closed up the shed and weeded another bunch or three of weeds before going up the steps and plopping myself in the rocker.
The breeze out this afternoon was wonderful and everything was so green and pretty. I didn't care a thing for allergies at that moment, I just wanted to spend time in the outdoors. John put away the mower and wagon and came up to sit with me.
We talked about things as we sat there. Just things. Nothing of import, just homey sort of chatter. We agreed that of all the money we've spent on our home, we don't regret spending one penny on the porches. They give us a lot of pleasure. I told him of my plans to begin to clean them tomorrow and lamented the wobbly legs on my table. Sam sat on it years ago and it's never been anything but lopsided since. John was able to bend that iron leg and got it balanced once more. I was just that pleased with him! Here I'd been thinking a new table was in order and he'd fixed it just fine. Of course, I did offer it to Katie last year and if she wants it this year I'll give it up but if she doesn't I'll just keep it a good while longer I guess.
Then he decided to hang the pretty brass bells Bess dug from their shed last year. They need new rope on them but they have the prettiest chime...Only they are brass and heavy and so it takes a right proper hurricane breeze to stir them, lol. John took them out to a tree and hung them hoping they'd chime there but no.
I gave Maddie more of a haircut. She has triple layers of fur. There's the coarse red outer coat, a fine blond undercoat and then a cottony white coat of hair under that. Shedding causes her fur to mat terribly and I've fought with her for years to cut away the worst bits but this year she's laid down and let me trim away. There's half a coat of fur in my yard.
Back indoors I quickly stirred together the leftover rice and some chicken and made a casserole dish for supper tonight. Then I did my Algebra work. I got totally lost yesterday...and then I realized I'd skipped two pages, lol. Made a world of difference when I went back and found the two pages stuck together.
Bess walked back over this evening. She brought us bread pudding and rum sauce. Yum!
meals today: Omelet, grits, toast
Open faced Meatloaf sandwich, potato chips
Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, Garlic Green Beans, Bread and Butter (John)
Tip: I usually make the wild rice casserole by a recipe given me years ago. It calls for a bit of onion and water chestnuts. A trick I learned years ago to stretch a meal is up the vegetables. I added red bell pepper and celery to the dish. I have enough leftovers for a lunch for us.
Thursday: We have fresh milk on hand and while I'd meant to make oatmeal, it was warm enough so I decided to have cold cereal instead. I found some frozen strawberries in the freezer for my bowl. I was pleased when John pulled out the hemp hearts on his own and added to both our bowls.
I went right to work after breakfast and cleaned the furnishings on the back porch. My gracious goodness but dirt, dog hair and pollen had really gunked things up. I am very aware of how much painting I ought to do. The furniture is all flaking off. I won't paint the cafe table and chairs though because Katie did express interest in having it again today. I'll leave it to her to choose the next color that goes on those pieces.
I am very pleased with how well the chair cushions I bought from Aldi have held up, despite dogs sitting on them routinely, being exposed to all sorts of weathers and sun (those on the patio). I'll definitely buy them again if I can find them this year.
John and I discussed painting the porch this year. I asked his opinion of an idea I had to paint all the rafter woodwork in grey so that the mildew would show up less than it does on the white. He thought it would look fine then he suggested simply closing the roof in. My idea is a lot of work but cheaper but his is a good idea as well.
Before I headed outdoors I made up a pot of Tuna Pasta Salad. Even just 8 ounces of macaroni is a gracious plenty if you're adding in olives and peppers, onions, and carrots and celery. While I was chopping up peppers and onions I went ahead and cut enough to make the Italian Pepper Steak for supper tonight. I have a package of Carne Asada that I'll use for this purpose and I expect to have more than enough for two meals. I'll go ahead and cook it then put back in the freezer.
When we came indoors, John gathered trash to take to the dumpsters. Katie came by before he was back to borrow white paint. We had a can of a brand we dislike, Valspar, which has a tendency to peel off everything we' put it on. I know many others have no problems with it in the least but for us it's just not a good paint.
While she was here she kept mentioning things she needed to stop and pick up at the store...and I kept getting up and going to pull those items from my pantry. I know that her funds are limited and if I can provide a few things here and there, so much the better. I know my children will all happily share with me any extras they might have.
I tried a new recipe for a Buttermilk Oatmeal bread in the bread machine. It was a very stiff dough and I could hear the machine struggling to knead it. I could tell it would be a dense bread, too. Very disappointed in the very short squat loaf that resulted but it tastes good. John and I agreed it would be a good bread for serving alongside a meal or making toast but we don't think it would be a good sandwich bread. I'm going to play with that recipe a bit and see how it works out before I ditch the recipe entirely.
I made a loaf of the Easy White Bread after that so I'm assured we've got bread for sandwiches and toast.
Bess came by yesterday evening with a dish full of bread pudding and a jar of warm rum sauce. I felt it would be best not to try it last night but golly gee goodnesss! that stuff made a most excellent mid-afternoon snack today, perfect with coffee. This dish is why she came to borrow sugar. Goodness I ought to loan her some more!
Meals: Cereal and toast
Tuna Pasta Salad with Saltines
Italian Pepper Steak, Rice, Green Salad
Friday: John made us breakfast this morning. He sliced that buttermilk oatmeal 'muffin' as he referred to it yesterday afternoon when it came out of the bread machine. I have to say it smelled mighty good when it was toasting and it tasted pretty darned good, too. I'm just going to have to play with that recipe and see if I can't figure it out for my bread machine. And if I can't I'll adapt it to hand mixing and oven baking because it's that nice.
John had washed clothes yesterday (he's only doing about 1 a week of late) and hung almost all of it to dry, some indoors and some out.
I did my usual Friday clean-up of the house. This morning that meant washing a load of dishes in the dishwasher. I let them air dry and then I wiped down the inside of the dishwasher and let it air dry before closing it up again.
John went off over to Sam's this morning and mowed grass. He came home laughing over the boys. Isaac is in the middle of being potty trained and John said he came running out of the door with a shirt on and his bottom half of his clothing in his hand, lol.
While John was over there I worked on Algebra. It's taken me a little longer with this chapter due to missed days of work but that's okay. I find as I work at it my confidence grows and grows and if I can't get the 'right' answer I'll keep working it until I figure out the way to get the right answer.
You know that old saying "Tis an ill wind that blows no good..."? Well I'll say it. This afternoon we were in town and we went into the grocery, keeping social distance from all but the cash register clerk and we didn't get up in her face either...But I say it's 'Good' because our little local grocery changed hands late last summer. I noticed over the last few months that people seldom seemed to go into the store, where prior to that it was uncommon to see no less than 10 or 12 cars at a time in the parking lot and often more...If that sounds a ridiculously low number I assure you for a town our size it's about right and generally meant a steady bit of business.
Anyway, over the last few months it's seldom been more than a couple of cars in the parking lot. They new owner improved the produce over all and while he's carrying a lot more generic brands the store is clean and neat. I was puzzled as to why it was not getting the prior business until we visited a new grocery in the next town over and discovered people we knew who were running it. "Well I heard the store in Reynolds is run down, rotten produce and dirty and smells bad..." said the girl we were speaking with and I hotly denied it but I realized that sort of insidious rumor had done damage.
When we'd meet up with anyone we'd praise the store but we seldom met up with any locals so we couldn't undo damage another had done out of sheer spite...
But back to the 'good' that an ill wind can blow: today the parking lot had about 10 or 12 cars in it and we saw at least 8 other shoppers in the store and that just after lunch. I told John, if nothing else our little store is getting it's business back and I'm all for it. I will say honestly I can't really afford to buy my groceries there (which is why I go to Aldi) but I've tried to do a bit of business there each month over the years just to help it along...And if I was unable to travel to the larger city I'd be more than happy to cut my wants down to fit what I could afford at the local store now, since the produce department is so much better.
I didn't walk down every aisle, but there was plenty of meat in the counters, there was lower end brand toilet paper and paper towels, plenty of vegetables and canned fruit, fresh produce and some dairy. There was a sign limiting milk to one per shopper. John got milk and bread for Sam and Bess. Katie mentioned when we dropped by her house that she'd not been able to get milk the night before but I couldn't have gotten her any today even so, since there was a limit.
Yes, we went by to see Katie. She was a little disappointed that I hadn't come into town to see the work done on the house (painting inside and loads of yard work and the wonky deck had been fixed properly...LOADS of improvement). I got to see that smiley faced boy and our grandpup Zoey who loves us dearly. The household was quite busy. Kate's boyfriend and his brother have been busy busy busy and Katie herself was cleaning house but it was pleasant to stop and visit and my goodness did that little bit of time out of the house make me happy.
We stopped by the bank (drive thru) to deposit the money we'd meant to use for vacation. It's earmarked for a future vacation. Then we went by the drop box to drop off outgoing mail.
On our way into the yard we spoke with a neighbor that has limited mobility when we saw her in the yard. I told her we'd be going out to get groceries next week and if it was all right with her I'd stop to check if she needed anything and told her when we expected to be going out. She seemed quite pleased. I know she has children the age of my kids but I'm not sure how much they can visit with her just now.
Ran by Sam's to make the bread and milk delivery. John had come home with a dozen eggs this morning from their house so I think it balances out in the end.
I need to make a meal plan up for the weekend ahead, so I'll end here.
Share what your week was like...