Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Girl Guides and Organic Beef

It's Spring Break this week. My kids are home with me, spending time playing together, sewing doll clothes, reading a lot and generally enjoying each other's company. Tonight I was speaking to a woman with older children who commented that so many people overschedule their children's time. One of the effects of that is their inability to entertain themselves. I'd have to agree with that and we've resisted many of the kids' requests to join too many groups and go to day camps, lessons and clubs that would take them out of the house and into organized time. I love it when they have free time. As it is, there are a few activities that I think are important. I want them to take part in music, and I think it's important to learn how to swim because many summer activities involve boats, swimming and other water activities and I want them to feel and be safe. Sunday School and church youth clubs aren't really optional in my mind. Even with these restrictions, it turns out that they are each involved in two or three activities. Luckily some of them are combined, but all together, it's starting to make coordinating our lives difficult at times. My week of unplanned choir practices threw things for a loop last week. Next year Beth starts junior high. That means a few changes in her schedule. She'll start at a new school, join band and learn French. Quit Sunday School and join a weekly Youth Group. Quit Girl Guides and possibly join Pathfinders. She has talked about quitting Guides altogether and while I think she might like the free time this creates, the activities the older girls get to do and the leadership training is appealing. She acted as a Page last Saturday at the Alberta Guides Parliament Debates. They were mostly Rangers (high school Guides) and I think she liked to hear the intelligent debates and could also distinguish who didn't really know their stuff. I stuck around because Beth wasn't feeling well and I wanted to be there if she needed to abandon her post. The debate was interesting to me too as it turned out. The topic: The passing of a bill that by 2014 all livestock in Alberta would be free ranged and organic. The girls all knew the topic a few weeks ago, but were not told whether they would be pro or con. They had to research and prepare for both situations. Some did their homework well, others were great speakers and convincing. Others made me want to stand up and tell them they were ridiculous and join the debate. I don't know whether she'll stick with the program, but Beth left the debate interested and asking questions. She can get these opportunities elsewhere too, but I'm not-so-secretly hoping she'll stick with the Guides and see where it takes her. I think she'll be good at this stuff.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What We've Been Eating

Oddly enough, I occassionally eat dinner without my camera. The camera might be somewhere hidden among the barbies who pose for stop motion films, or I'm simply too distracted or hungry to think about a picture. Go figure.

So, on Red Meat Wednesday we ate a beef stoup. That's a Rachel Ray word which is pretty easy to figure out. It's too thick to be soup, too thin to be stew. It was too yummy to be nameless though, so "stoup" it was. There was little leftover for lunches. I had to go into work for a change, so I had breakfast, lunches and dinner made before 9:00. By that time the school had called for me to pick up a sick Beth and we went into work together. That's the day we discovered Tuba Ruba, so she wasn't really all that sick.

Thursday: Something with wilted cabbage and ranch dressing. I think it was a snacky supper with hummus and crackers, and fruit. I don't remember so it wasn't anything spectacular. Or planned.

Right after supper Rosa and I went to the Alberta Avenue Farmers Market and picked up some awesome things, one of which was garlic elk sausage. That led to Friday's supper.

Friday: This was a cop-out and proof that I don't make everything from scratch. PC White Cheddar mac 'n cheese, modified with pureed pumpkin and sundried tomato. And then shared between a batch of gluten-y pasta and GF pasta. Only Yvon and I ate the elk sausage because no one was really hungry.

Saturday: I had to make something for a potluck tomorrow. Because there are a number of celiac and GF people at the potluck, I made some lasagna noodles. GF noodles are easy enough to find, but I've not ever seen GF lasagha noodles.
I doubled the sauce so I'd have enough to make a lasagna for ourselves, but I ran out of dough for the noodle for our own lasagna. Our version had a layer of pureed carrots, layers of meat and cheese, and PC mac 'n cheese leftovers. Sounds weird maybe, but it all worked. It should be awesome tomorrow after the flavour all meld together. The one for tomorrow is much more traditional, although I do always throw some veggies in.

The bigger girls are at camp this weekend, so we've got leftover to last awhile. We may just get sick of it before it's all done.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some of our favourite games

These are some of our favourite games and we've lucked out on some of them by finding them at thrift stores or at the Reuse Centre, which basically gives away other people's "junk", saving it from the landfill.  I quite like that place although the finds vary each time. 

Some of these were unknown to us, but a couple are classics.  

Probe:  It's basically a version of hangman, but it works even for kids who aren't great spellers because you don't lose if your word is guessed right away (for instance, if your name is Alice and you like to use your own name for your word, or get more adventurous and use the name of the stuffy you are holding at that exact moment).   You win by guessing the most letters of everyone else's words.  It's turned out well for us, in spite of our mixed abilities.  We found this one at the Reuse Centre.  I hadn't heard of it, but for free you can take chances.  This was a good/no risk. 

Scrabble:  Obviously.  An old classic that never gets too old or outdated.

Life:  Another classic.  My parents gave us their's, the one I played as a kid.  The kids would like an updated one but this still works.  You can't choose a realistic career like the new version (such as a movie star or rock star), you have to accept your fate as a journalist or teacher and it's fun.   I wonder if the dollar amounts were ever realistic.  $15,000 for a small house.  That'd be nice.

Tuba Ruba:  I'd never heard of this until this week and we've already gotten our $2 worth.  The idea is that you wrap your body in intricate and compromising ways in the long tubing, attaching it to your legs and arms to secure it.  Then you drop a marble in one open end and play twister with yourself to get the marble to travel through the whole length of tubing and come out the other end.  You can also twist the tube around you and your closest friend or sister and contort and lift and somersault as a team.  It's amusing to watch.  

Jewels in the Attic:  I'd never heard of this one either, but it's fun and you can find it in second hand stores.  I've seen it once since finding our game.  It's an interactive team game and the goal is to find the jewels in the attic of an old house.  It's hard to explain, but you have to physically go to different rooms in your house and try to open the doors with your keys and with special gifts and tools that each player has. 

Say you try to open the door with your "gift of gab" and you might have to drop your tool (and can't use it again), or maybe the troll guarding the door lets you in.  It depends on how the circular tools and gifts line up with the marks on the door.  Sometimes you have to hop on one foot until one of your teammates successfully opens the door. 

We're looking for the Settlers of Catan at a reasonable price, but until then we'll keep playing with these games.  What are some of your favourites? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What We've Been Eating

Lots, of course.  And it's mostly been interesting and good.  Even if these food posts are only interesting to a couple of people (if that), it makes me serve good food to my family and try new things.

Thursday:  Salmon and rice with veggies in it.  The last time I bought lemons I bought a whole bag of them, juiced and zested them, and froze it in ice cube trays.  That made it easy to put lemon on each salmon chunk.  I guess sprinkling juice from a bottle is still easier.  The rice is almost a rice version of boerenkole with peas as well.  This year I dried a bunch of kale and I use it more than if I'd frozen it.  I'll have to do that again in the fall.

Last night:  Tuna and rice casserole that went over surprising well.  If we could eat Campbell's soup, I would have poured a whole can of Cream of Celery in, just like a classic Jean Pare casserole.  Alas, no Campbell's allowed here because of the soy content.

 Sunday:  Smokies with roasted potatoes and carrots.  Or Alice declared her's to be a potato mountain, with two pumpkin patches and a farmer's field.  I don't get it, but she ate it all. 

Saturday:  Little Caesar's pizza for 8 girls between 7 and 11 years old and one adult.  I ate fried rice with leftover carrots.  Note to self:  Get 4 pizzas next time.  Size is no indicator of ability to eat.  Beth says that's because it's not real food and it doesn't fill you up.  I'm so proud of her!  She understand the concept, but it doesn't stop her from eating vast quantities of the non-real food when offered. 

Last night:  Awesome ribs pasta and beans.

And Beth made us dessert.  A base of rice krispie/puffed corn squares, spread with cream cheese and a jar of saskatoon pie filling dumped on top.  Very yummy and even gluten free!

I'm not enjoying Blogger in Draft.  I can't move images easily or format things the way I want.  I thought the whole idea was to make posting easier. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Eat Alberta!

This is very exciting and I registered as soon as I found out about it from the Dinner with Julie blog.    Blogs are where I get all my news, it seems. 

Rosa and I will be attending the Eat Alberta: A Celebration of Our Local Food Heroes.  We're going to learn to make sausage and cheese and who knows what else.  It sort of depends on what sessions we sign up for and it looks like we have to sign up fast because they were 40% sold out on their first day of ticket sales. 

Surprisingly, over the last couple of years I've come to recognize a lot of the names in the presenter list.  These are the hippies of the new millenium.  They live off the land, live in straw bale houses, fight the big Monsanto's of the world, and are a constant source of inspiration for me.  They read Michael Pollan, Sally Fallon, Weston Price and Joel Salatin. 

At the moment I read a lot of that, but I don't necessarily "live" it.  My goal is to get closer every year to eating local vegetables, avoiding BPAs in cans, growing heritage seeds, seed saving what I can, and eating less meat and more organic or "happy meat".  I don't live on a farm and I do love the convenience of the grocery store, but I do more and more of it myself and shop in the fresh aisles.  I'm also trying to do my best to not feel guilty when I do buy bananas regularly and grapes.  I do believe we vote for agriculture with our grocery dollars though so I'll continue trying in my small way to support local, non-GMO, happy products. 

Blah, blah, blah.  I haven't thought through this post very clearly.  I know that I live full of contradiction so please don't point fingers!  I'm about to learn more and much of it looks like it's hands-on so maybe I'll take one more thing home with me that gets me closer to that ideal.  

Check it out. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daily routines and tidyness

Over the weekend the topic came up of how to keep your home organized, tidy or otherwise not overwhelmingly chaotic.  I don't know how we got on the topic anymore, but I know it wasn't because my friend was amazed at my cleanliness.

There is a blog called Fly Lady that someone had recommended to me in the past.  I looked at it, thought it was mostly common sense and never went there again.  But there are good tips on the site and I think I might try my own version of her system this week.  I'm going to read her blog a bit more.

The first thing she says to do is to "Dress to shoes".  Basically, get your basic hygiene out of the way first thing and be fully dressed. 

That's habit for anyone who has to drive kids to school or go to work, but I don't do either of those things.  So I guess the temptation is to stay in your robe all day.  I don't quite do that, but many times I've been caught just getting out of the bath at 10:00 or answer the door in my robe at 8:30 (because I know who those visitors are and they've seen me at my camping best - nothing scares them now!).   But there are other things that I do every day and eventually getting dressed is one of them.

Basically I get the kids out the door before I take care of myself.  If I try to have hot oatmeal for breakfast, I'm suddenly searching the house for missing field trip forms, money for the trips, lost library books, birthday party invites or washing moldy lunch containers from Friday.  My oatmeal would always be cold.  Yvon starts them off with breakfast, and I make sure they finish it and move on to dressing, washing, and getting their stuff together.  After I close the door behind the last one, I glance around the room for left items (gloves, hats, lunches, forms) and yell out the door for them to come back.  Then I sigh a bit sigh of relief.

Eat breakfast.  Make our bed.  Sweep the living room, hallway and kitchen.  Do the dishes.  I don't dry them ever,  but at least the counter and table are clean and one side of the sink, and I can walk barefoot if I want without risk of cereal or popcorn kernels getting stuck to my toes. 

THEN I get dressed myself. 

After that I don't have any routines because it depends on the day, on my workload, on the needs of the kids, whatever. 

Fly Lady then breaks jobs down into small bits so that you don't clean like a madwoman for 8 hours and then crash for two days.  You sort/clean/organize in 15 minutes chunks, or bigger jobs take one hour.  Over time you've hit on all areas of your house and it should be easier to keep it up. No tasks are meant to freak you out and make you quit. 

As it turns out, Fly Lady is concentrating on the bathroom this week.  Coincidentally, my bathroom still needs work, although not the work she's talking about.  She wants me to clean something every day or sort old medications and shampoos. I've done that.  What I need to do is actually finish constructing the bathroom. 

I promised a friend last night that I will make a list of all the things that still need doing, broken up into bite-sized jobs.  Every day I will cross something off it.  So that's what I'm going to do today. 

The other thing is that I am going to spend 15 minutes cleaning a junk pile every day.   The piles of papers and drawers and recipes I've clipped, the bowl of things-that-don't-belong-anywhere-but-are-very-special-to-someone, the piles of library books and books I've been meaning to give away or return to their owners. 

I got rid of my paper pile this morning, so now I'm on to writing my bathroom list.   How do you keep up with everything?  Do you write massive lists?  Or do you clean in a frenzy just when guests are expected?

Friday, March 11, 2011

10 more days 'til spring!

Are you feeling it? 

Me neither. 

But in the basement things are happening and that will get me through this last part of winter. 

I'm trying onions and shallots from seed this year and maybe I'll do them from bulbs too and see which way works best.  In the picture are basil, parsley, thyme and leeks.  I am trying celery again, but even with the warmer location of my lights I've gotten no germination.  Maybe I should germinate them in the cold room like I did last year.  I just assumed heat would be better.  Live and learn and then try again.

What's for Dinner

It's been a couple of days, but I've been pretty good about using leftovers and doing a version of the plan.

Wednesday night: Chicken nachos.

The only interesting thing about this is the guacamole. I had purchased some cheap avocados on the edge of being bad, ate lots right away and then decided to try my luck with freezing them. It worked great. I didn't dip them or anything - just halved them and froze them on cookie sheets and then into containers with 1 1/2 avocados each. That enough for a good bowl of guacamole on short notice.

Thursday night: Even though it was my birthday, I had to take Alice to the clinic to remove her stitches and had a 3 hour (!) community league meeting at night, so we had nothing special. Spaghetti sauce with pasta. The addition of bacon makes anything more special though!

Yvon and I just got back from a good meal at the Alberta Art Gallery, my birthday meal. Tiny portions, but I'm surprisingly full in spite of not getting the bread to start with, or the bun that belonged with my sirloin burger.

Their menu was totally different than the last time I was there, but with only four main dishes on it I guess they can change it up really regularly. Do only a few things, but do them well. My motto is more like "Try everything and do lots of them at a passable level". Ah, mediocrity! I'm glad they don't share that philosophy because I expect more from others. A lovely double-standard, but if they're getting my money it should be good.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's my day!

It's our tradition to start birthday's on our bed opening presents. That way, no matter what the rest of the day throws at us, we started the day acknowledging the special day. As far as I know, my parents started that. I don't have many memories of the master bedroom because there was rarely reason to be in there. It was a toy-free zone and not generally much fun. But birthdays always started there.
I lucked out in the gift department this year.

I love Stuart McLean's stories. These appear to be in his own voice, as opposed to years of Dave and Morley. I read a few chapters while eating breakfast in bed this morning. I'd like to read them all at once, but it's not really that sort of book. It's nice to stop and think about what he's written. His observations on the common, everyday things of life.

I also love Bryce Courtney. He can't seem to write a thin novel, but I'm always happy that they go on and on and on and sad when they finally end.

Two local meads from the Calgary area. I'm looking forward to cracking open the Saskatoon Rhubarb one most.

And the bag itself. I've eyed these for a while but haven't had the need so I kept stopping myself. Birthdays and gifts don't have to be about "need" though. Yay! I wonder if I can bungee cord it to the rack on my bike? The rumour is that our neighbourhood is going to open a farmer's market this year.

A child after my own heart, Laura gave me a gift in a reusable little beaded bag. Complete with little beaded jewelry. The way the sun shines through the glass says spring to me. Outside still does not say spring at all, but I believe it's in the air and will one day warm up.

Beth wants you to know that she didn't forget about me. She made me a gift a long time ago, put it on her bedside shelf (she sleeps on the top bunk) and knocked it off while reaching for her glasses. She can't find it now. It's somewhere behind Laura's desk or bed. And she is the child that I think is most like me. I hope not!

Last night I was gifted with this lovely gift: GF crackers. I've been sneaking to the kitchen counter repeatedly to eat one or two. They will not last long. 

Can you see the little letters? Originally they had spelled out "Evelyn 43" but they are very fragile and didn't quite survive the car ride. So cute and so yummy!

The giver of this plum chutney didn't/doesn't know it's my birthday, but I'm treating it as a birthday gift. I don't know what we'll eat it with yet, but it will be enjoyed. I'm thinking pork.

It's only 10:00 and I'm having a lovely birthday already. Happy birthday, me!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I saw an eipisode of some spice lady on the Food Network who made some awesome refried bean burgers last week.  However, I can't remember when I saw it, what the show was called or many of the ingredients.  I remember thinking, "I'd never have thought to put those spices together in one meal".  So, of course I couldn't recreate the meal the way she did.  However, I did remember the refried beans and the eggs, so this actually turned out really well.  And it's a good meatless dish that didn't feel meatless. 

Although the meal looks really colorless, my condiments didn't and it struck me how many were made from scratch.  Following a blog post on Dinner with Julie about ketchup and how easy it was to make, I made a few jars in tomato season and have enough to last the year without Heintz.  This is the same  Ranch Dressing that I made a few weeks ago, but I mixed up a smaller batch this time.  The crumbly cheese turned out really well and melts nicely.  It's an accidental creation from a failed batch of yoghurt that heated too high.  I can't take credit for the relish.  That comes from my mother-in-law.  They looked nice in the middle of the table.

I think I might try growing fennel again this summer.  It was very good in the salad, but I wonder how you preserve fennel if I have the happy problem of growing a successful excess. 

Last night was Crockpot Tuesday, so we had chicken, potatoes and veggies.  This meal bores me but the rest of the family likes it and it provides me with leftovers for other meals and lunches.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Me Stealing Laura's Hat

I figured out how to post the videos! Mom told me to post them on YouTube and her blog. This one is Me Stealing Laura's Hat. You can click on the link below to watch.

Beth Stealing Laura's Hat.

It's awesome!:)

And it was our friend Ella's birthday. This is for her!

Happy B-day Ella.


Who knows what's for dinner. I'm totally winging it these days.

I discovered a good recipe for GF pancakes, so we had that twice over the weekend, once for dinner with meat and cheese. And on Friday we went to Red Robin for a surprise birthday party. They'll create a lettuce wrap for any of their sandwiches or burgers, so Yvon and I were both happy with our meals there. They don't really have a GF menu, but at least there is some accommodation for weird diets.

On Saturday night we drove out to Vimy for some family time and were treated to a yummy ham dinner. Most dinners are yummy when I don't have to cook or clean. I've been married now for 16 years and it's the first time we've gone to my brother-in-law's house. That's weird, but we always meet up at his parents and then don't generally socialize outside of that. We went to their son's school production of Grease and it was...well, it was a school production. Some kids could sing, some could act but few could do both well. It was still a good time though. Beth and Laura really liked it, but I realized that sex ed in elementary school is definitely not enough and I'll have to work some education into our conversation at home.

I had no pictures of the play or of dinners today. The kids have rediscovered stop motion animation with my camera and were busy over the two days of Teacher's Convention last week. I can't figure out how to share them with you, but Beth will no doubt figure it out.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm Gonna Be Famous!

 Maybe not, but I do get to sing with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in this place.

That's going to be me up there in (hopefully) a new black dress. 

Many moons ago I used to sing with a pretty decent local choral group, Da Camera Singers.  It's the only group I ever had to audition for and I still think I got in only because I knew the conductor at the time and he knew how I can sing when I'm not nervous. 

However I actually got in, I sang with them for two years and loved it.  They sang challenging music and probably what I learned most from that time was that I love singing in small groups, and preferably accappella.  Every week we were assigned a segment of our repertoire and would be randomly selected at the start of practice to sing it with a quartet in front of everyone.  I thought that would freak me out, but I really loved it.

Obviously I had to quit when we moved away and when we came back my life had changed somewhat.  We had Beth and Laura was on her way. More importantly, there was a new conductor that I didn't know.  Even if I'd had time to join them again, I've been too scared to audition for a stranger. 

But... I do have connections with the symphony and I was asked to join Da Camera just for one month, ending in two nights of performances, performing Maurice Durufle's Requiem.  If you've got time and inclination, we're singing on March 25th and 26th and it should be really good. 

It makes for a busier than usual month for me, with 9 rehearsals ahead of me, but I got in without a nerve-wracking audition.  You just gotta know the right people.

What's for Dinner

Nothing special.  A pork version of sloppy joes on bread.  With highly processed Cheez Whiz.  Cheez Whiz adds personality, doncha know?

Is pork still considered the other white meat?  We keep eating it on Red Meat Wednesday in spite of my scheduling of meals.  Oh well. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Last night did not play out the way any of us planned, but I learned a few things about my girls.

1. Beth is the typical oldest child. Responsible, level-headed, practical.
2. Laura will never be an ER nurse or paramedic. Empathy is way too deeply embedded to not come to the forefront in a crisis.
3. Alice lives in the moment like most little kids and is hanging onto her childish ways longer than her sisters.

We have been trying to teach the girls to do the dishes on every night that they are home and not rushing off to some activity. It's been a long process because they are painfully slow. It's not at all like my memories of washing dishes with my sisters, singing Sunday School songs and laughing. I'm sure that's an inaccurate memory anyway. We probably fought the system in the same way my girls do.

Alice is on "clear the table and put away the dry dishes" duty this month. She's very slow and the plates are big and heavy for her. I promised to read aloud to them if they finished in 15 minutes so they were rushing a bit.

While I played the piano to drown out their squabbles, I heard a loud crash and crying. I didn't see what had happened but Laura was loudly crying and Alice too. It was easy to see the pile of plates on the floor, but it wasn't clear who was hurt or if the loud sound had just scared them (I don't think they are afraid of me yellling at them for breaking dishes).

It turned out Alice had cut her foot and needed the bleeding stopped, but Laura needed more consoling. Beth calmly found the bandaids and got pants and socks for Alice (she was wearing a gauzy dress as part of a previous game that was clearly not suitable for a -30 drive to emergency). I had to leave a crying Laura in Beth's care while Alice and I drove for help.

I opted for a MediCentre instead of emergency because even a bleeding child doesn't always get precedence over car accident victims or a loudly drunk bleeding man and the like. Playing up the "she's bleeding into her boot" story, we got in pretty quickly.

I've never had stitches, nor had Alice and she was very afraid of the freezing ("It'll be SO COLD") and the sewing on her foot. I must say that the needle in the non-fleshy top of her foot brought back awful memories of being with Beth once as nurses tried to find a vein on her dehydrated baby body long ago. This time I didn't have Yvon to deal with it while I ran away.

Once the freezing was in, they gave her three stitches and it went something like this.

"Let me know if you can feel anyth...ICANFEELICANFEELICANFEEL...Can you still feel anyth...ICANFEELICANFEELICANFEEL...Okay, now we'll just put the bandage on...Did you do anything yet?"

Obviously she could not actually feel her foot while they stitched it up. They threw her icky sock away and we went home, Alice chattering happily in the back about being the third person in Grade 2 who's had stitches and isn't it good that her talent show entry didn't involve her feet?

As I locked the car door at home, I heard my knee pop. Oh great. It hurt enough to bring tears to my eyes and I was seriously not sure how I was going to walk to the house. Generally when one knee goes, the other does some sort of compensation move and they both have trouble bearing weight. Clearly I couldn't stay outside in the cold though. Even with her own injured foot, sweet Alice stepped up to the plate and offered her arm. Not actually helpful as we climbed the snow pile between the van and our house, but we made it.

Beth had spent much of the time at home trying to ease Laura's worries and clean up some of the broken dishes. Then she promptly helped me into bed and settled me with two hot wheat bags to try to get the swelling down in my knees. Of all my children, she's the one you want around in a crisis. Laura is great for the words of encouragement after the fact and lots of hugs and kisses, but in the moment I think she feels the pain as much as the injured person.

Today I'm hobbling around painfully, and I will follow up this time with physio and try to get my weight down a bit. I've done it before and I can do it again and clearly my knees are having trouble dealing.

What's for Dinner

It's not a very balanced meal and it wasn't on my plan.  However, it was cheap Tuesday at Save-On-Foods and they had a deal on things I wouldn't normally buy.  $10 shrimp, and free linguine, baby veggies and alfredo sauce.  It sounded like an easy meal that would take no thought and my pork in the crockpot was really big and not quite finished anyway.  Meal plan, schmeal plan. 

This was a Jamie Oliver trick.  Slice your parmesan cheese with a potato peeler for long ribbons of cheese.  I like it and it's a bit less messy than the grater.

Alice's plate always looks sparse, but she wanted to be in the blog too.  The kids had leftover pesto pasta and we had our GF pasta and some flat flax bread, so the free linguini is saved for another time. 

Once the pork was finally cooked through, I pulled it all apart and had enough meat for 4 meals.   The plan was for roast beef to be made into Shepherd's Pie and Sloppy Joes this week, but the pork shoulders were easier to find in the freezer.  I'll just make pork versions of the same.

I still struggle with the idea of buying only grass-fed or sustainable meat.  (Have you watched Food Inc. yet?)  It's a great idea and we should probably eat less meat overall, but then I see a great sale ($8 for 4 meals of pork) and I think about our increasing utility bills and our stable income and I snatch it up. 

Somewhere there is a balance and I haven't found it yet.  Ignorance of the agri-business and the food industry is bliss and I sometimes wish I'd stayed a bit less informed.  Ask me about politics or wars overseas.  I know nothing about that.  Why didn't I stay that way about food?  It would make grocery shopping easier and less guilty.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's for dinner

On the menu tonight:  Sausage and cheese quiche, orange slices and sauerkraut, with apple pie for dessert. 

I've tried gluten free pie crust before and it was quite disgusting.  One particularly horrible chicken pie that caused me to grind up some of my own rice flour, smell the purchased flour and my own and promptly throw away the purchased rice flour.  When you buy it you have no idea how old it is (it travelled from China to India and then to me, with how many stops in between) and I didn't actually know what non-rancid rice flour was supposed to taste or smell like.  Now I do and I won't be buying it anymore. 

Anyway, this was a new recipe and it tasted a bit sweet and was chewy.  Not tough the way a wheat flour crust can sometimes be, but actually chewy.  It wasn't unpleasant, but still not the perfect pie pastry.  I think the perfect pie pastry might be the GF cracker recipe I used last week. 

The sauerkraut was my first ever attempt at fermenting cabbage without the use of vinegar.  It was super easy and turned out really good.  It was also satisfying to see my old Medalta crock being used for it's original purpose; preserving food.  This year I'm growing about 10 heads of cabbage for sauerkraut.  The worms will no doubt feast as well, but we'll get a lot too.