Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Organizing the pantry

Well, look, I managed to post something twice in a month.

I recently did something nuts: I bought a house next to my parents.  While I did this for many reasons that are working out quite well, I have to confess an added perk is not having to run to the grocery store so much.  As both houses are full of adventurous cooks, we have a wide variety of spices and odd ingredients that we can share.  To this end, we embarked on a 3 hour project - making a spreadsheet of everything in our pantries, fridges, and all our cookware.  We never did make it through the freezers, since we both have chest freezers and were close to pulling our hair out already.

As the slightly Type A person that I am, I have labels on my pantry showing where everything goes, and instead of decor in my lichen, I have an ugly TV stand turned shelving unit with all my spices on display.  This makes it a lot easier to find where everything goes and make it easy for the rest of the family to come over and borrow something if needed.  This also helps me be able to utilize that great resource - children.  They can no longer claim to not know where I keep things as it is labeled in plain sight.

I have found that keeping a list handy on google documents means that I can keep track of what I am buying, how much I need, and whether or not my parents need some too.  Keeping them updated is a challenge, but it is working well.

I have my 2 pantries (One tiny, but with a door to keep cats from chewing on the onion bags. Why do they do that?) divided up into columns:

Cans - Fruit, veggies/beans, other - I keep at least 3-4 cans of commonly used items on hand
Jars - Fruit, veggies/beans, other - I keep at least 3-4 cans of commonly used items on hand.
Dried beans - At least a bags worth of dried peas, lentils, kidney beans and pinto beans.
Nuts/dried fruit - I keep almonds and cashews, dried apples and raisins + what I find on sale.
Grains - Quinoa, GF oats for me, regular for the family's granola, popcorn, amaranth, and chia seeds.
GF Flours - too many to count.  Anyone who bakes GF foods knows what I mean.
Baking supplies - baking powder, baking soda, salts (many types), jell-o (it doesn't really belong anywhere)
Noodles - both Asian-style rice noodles and European style.
Oils and Vinegars - Basic veggie, olive oil, white and red wine vinegars, plus fancy stuff we rarely use.
Pre-packaged foods (Mostly Indian food packets, since the ingredient lists are short and, you know, food.)
Rice - Brown, white, and wild.
Specialty items - Asian/African pantry staples as we cook a lot from both continents.
Extra bulk - for all the times when you find a great deal at Costco but don't want to put it all out at once
Party supplies - kept at the very top to keep kids out of the sprinkles.

My next goal is to properly label and organize my jars and containers for homemade spice blends and dried herbs.  They are quite jumbled, and I seem to be the only one able to find what I need on the first try.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Can I start over more than 4 times?

Well, I read through some of my really bad posts and decided to start anew.  Since starting this blog back in college my life has restarted several times and I decided to leave that behind.

So, starting over.

Welcome to my new life!  I have 2 cats (Double Stuff and Oreo), 2 step-kids (Child 1 and Child 2), 1 husband (Husband) and a house (The Moneypit).  I have colitis and can't eat a whole bunch of foods, including gluten and most soy products.  Also dairy, but come on, we have to have some fun in life.  I love cooking more than I like most people.

I will be damned if I know how to start this sort of blog, so I will start with the best Gluten-Filled Beignet recipe this world has ever seen.  I will someday make a delicious version of these that is gluten-free, but alas, I have not yet perfected it.

French Market Beignets (Doughnuts)
1 Cup Milk - Scald
2 Tb butter
1Tb Brown Sugar
1 Tb Granulated Sugar
3 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Allspice
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves 
(All these spices are variable.  Play with it.  I think my grandfather would be horrified to find I use more than just cloves.)
1 Egg
1 Tsp salt
1 Package Yeast
Oil for frying - doesn't matter, I use peanut, but veggie works too

Scald the milk
Put butter and sugar in mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and melt butter.
Cool until lukewarm
Add yeast and stir until dissolved
Sift or stir together dry ingredients 
Gradually add half of the dry mix to milk mixture and thoroughly combine
Add egg and beat well into mix
Stir in the rest of the flour

Cover, set aside to double in bulk (mind you, I leave it in a warn (not hot) oven, and it has NEVER doubled for me, but it still works fine)
Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 inches thick
Slice into diamonds
Cover and let rise in warm place for 1/2 hour to an hour (I never do the full hour unless there is no warm spot available)

Fry in hot oil until light brown on each side
Drain on wire rack or paper towel
Dust with powder sugar!


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Well look what I found

Goodness. My old blog. Lost amongst the myriad of links cluttering my bookmarks, utterly abandoned when I left the country all those years ago. I wrote very few posts here, but I hope to change that. Which, as any reader at will see, is what I have written many, many times in the, what, 7 posts here?

In any case. I am at the point in my life where I would like to begin writing again. Because it was a fun creative outlet and frankly, I feel like such a drone right now I need this outlet more than anything.

So while circumstances today lead me to not have the time to write (Superbowl Sunday my friends, I must go watch the game) I shall not forget it this time.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Long Time No See....

Well, after a hectic summer of Ultimate Frisbee, working 40 hour weeks, one trip to Alaska to visit an Uncle who has Altzhiemers (before he forgot us, which he only did about half of the time) and meeting a lot of fun, wonderful people..........yeah, ok, I ignored this thing. Jeeze, I'm sorry.....

Anyhow, sitting at home all by myself with a torn shoulder muscle, typing slowly with my left hand, and wondering why all of my "friends" have not called me all weekend to see if I need any help with anything, I found this on a site of one of my friends and I liked it a lot. Enjoy.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -John Stuart Mill-

Looking at this post, it is obvious to me that painkillers are definately inhibiting my communications skills. The quote is still good though.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A somewhat better start...

Having thought for a good length of time, I had decided to come back and have another go, although still not entirely sure as to what to write. While signing in, I saw the name Neil Gaiman sitting below, as he had recently updated.
Well, at least it gave me a topic.
In my never-ending search for ways to amuse myself, I have been trying to read a book a day as part of my New Year's resolution. For a while, after break, when I was ill for a month, it disappeared and only in the last several weeks have I begun again in earnest. As I do not always have a large amount of time each day, I confess to having read a number of shorter books for a while during exams, and re-reading some that I had read a number of years ago. However, I recently got several new books for my birthday, including a late present last night from my older sister - Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman, a personal favorite of mine.
Although I had read it before, the last time I did so was when I was perhaps 11, and I honestly could not recall the ending. While Neverwhere follows the usual Gaiman pattern of a person stuck in the middle of a world they do not understand, he writes in such a facsinating manner that one cannot help but find the idea new. The worlds he creates are parallel to ours and are interwoven in such a way that you almost find his created world plausible. They are strikingly similar, yet completely seperate.
A summary of any of Giman's novels could not do proper justice to them, and so I shall not write one. Each book is different, although there are the occasional characters who appear in several, such as the case with American Gods and Anansi Boys. Each book is also very well writen, whether it be American Gods, Neverwhere, Anansi Boys, Stardust or any other one of the Gaiman novels. (Another personal favorite being Good Omens, a collaboration with another favorite author, Terry Pratchett. A much lighter read, as some of Gaiman's work can be quite dark.)
I am going to attempt to re-read his novels in the next several weeks, and am very much looking forward to it. After which I shall endeavor to find some interesting non-fiction, but until then, I will enjoy losing myself in each one of Gaiman's worlds.

Ah, The First Post

Honestly, for a begining post I feel as though there should be something fairly substansial, but as I cannot think of a thing at the moment, I shall have to return.

What a marvelous way to begin.