Bread etc.

So many things flit about in my flea brain; few, if any, worthy of discussion. I get busying around, more like nit picking to the casual observer and next thing you know another day shot to hell lol well, not totally. The place sure is clean. I’m enjoying my recent foray into bread making; I apparently have a viable sourdough starter but being me, can’t bear to throw away the discard so many wonderful carby fermented products are being created, along with the size of my waist.

Fabulous sourdough cornbread, focaccia, artisan no-knead loaves and herby samich breads. So many recipes and opinions on the interweb. I do rely heavily on King Arthur Flour and the folks that have kindly shared Tartine recipes. I downloaded a lovely e-book , Artisan Sourdough Made Simple by Emilie Raffa. Every recipe seems like a new craft project.

Mr. Einstein stated “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” so that suggests that I’m not insane as I want the same results when I perform my little rituals over and over (when I think no-one’s looking); they calm me and allow me to go forth and do well.

Conversely, the bigger more productive part of my life can’t abide repetition. I used to do a lot of craft work; people would tell me I should sell some of my wares but the thought of reproducing them was awful. The last assembly-line project I completed was creating 25 centerpieces for my son’s wedding reception – a labor of love that won’t be repeated. Almost killed me. Luckily my later-in-life career change to the health care industry found me in a place where I could experience something new every hour.

As long as I don’t tire of the recipe acquisition from print or online to my personal digital file I’ll continue to enjoy cooking but for now, I’m lovin’ the breads!

I ordered some bags of flour from Target this week so I could get my order up to the minimum amount for free delivery (not everything ships free with the RedCard); when my husband brought the large, heavy box in I noticed a trail of white following him – one of the bags of flour had burst, covering the whole order and a fair amount of my dining room floor in flour. What an effing mess.

expired

Found this in one of my boots, must have dropped it in there while moving my winter downstairs to my 2 cubic foot – sized closet (I try to carry as much as I can each trip up and down – my life in 3 stories, of house, that is, another post). One of my team-mates at work had a Sam’s membership and I had her pick me up a case of Newman’s Own Organic pods – like 4+ years ago. Still good, notwithstanding the fact it had been residing in a boot. Disclaimer – my taste buds are shot due to radiation therapy lol so don’t believe anything I say. Actually I’m a great cook and go by smell and memory – I can still sort of taste coffee, dark chocolate and beer. Life is good.

I frequently consult the website https://www.stilltasty.com/ and even though I’m aware of ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ date data and have used many an expired product and lived to tell the tale, I’m paranoid when feeding it to my younger family. I figure the husband and I (being old) have ingested our share of crap and survived thus far but the kiddos (grown children) were brought up on more ostensibly wholesome fare.

Today’s use -it- up menu consists of homemade pizza to use two lovely kumatos a bit past their prime, and bits and pieces of fixin’s from Christmas eve DIY pizza party. Pickled beet eggs (going to use an adapted Molly Yeh recipe) since I forgot to use the fresh cooked beets in the winter vegetable salad I served Christmas day with a beef bourguignon mash-up and an apple cake that will be enhanced by some caramel sauce left from the Double Ginger Sticky Toffee Pudding made for the said meal. Also made an apple cider reduction, and froze leftover chicken broth and heavy whipping cream in these King Cubes from BB & B, love them (the Cubes).

BB & B gets on my nerves as do most retail websites that pop up during a search; you Google your desired item and up pop the usual suspects, only to find it’s not available in a 4,000 mile radius of your home, out of stock, etc. Retailers or computer programmer people take note – don’t show the inventory unless you have it. Boom.

I’ll probably reduce what’s left of the Port from the cake recipe as it won’t last and I don’t like it as a beverage, I’m a beer baby. I’ll post the apple cake recipe if it’s any good.

Just realized there’s no spell check option LOL. I should have been a proofreader since I catch errors frequently but then I would have to read all kinds of crap I don’t care about. Don’t like reading even my own stuff. Hope I didn’t miss anything.

Ta

2019

Now semi-retired and satisfiying my most emergent OCD desires. A consummate nit-picker and certainly germ savvy, having worked in a infectious disease enviromnent for the last 20 years and lived to tell the tale. A couple of yoga classes a week, a walk (weather permitting) half a day at work, much food prep but I seem to have less time than ever.

I can’t ever throw out a piece of food, one of the compulsion parts of my OD.

Cooked the pie pumpkins I’ve had since 1 November; I halved them, tossed them in a 375° oven for an hour or so; when coolish, scraped out the seeds & string and tossed the remains in the food processor. Pureed till smooth, then hung in a cheesecloth lined strainer for an hour. Saved the juice dregs for I don’t know what then smeared the pulp on a parchment lined baking sheet. 400° oven for about 20 minutes to attempt to boost the flavor profile, fresh pumpkin is pretty bland, canned for our t-giving pies is usually butternut squash. Freeze in 1 cup portions. If I could figure out how to insert a pic here I’d show you how I fill a quart freezer bag and portion it so I can break apart what I need and not waste a whole bag. WP101 – how about I read a couple of tutorials….

Next, falafel as I had a poor wrinkled cucumber I forgot to serve as a crudite so I had to make tzatziki. Then I had to make something to go with it hence, falafels. Pain in the ass, soak the garbanzos, drain and add to food processor with cilantro, garlic, s & p, cayenne, lemon juice, baking soda. I first used my Ninja that wasn’t strong enough so had to fire up brunhilde which I should have done in the first place since I had to puree the punkin.

Much washing of less than useful instruments ensued but all items satisfactorily pureed.

Toasted up some bland gifted banana bread, and downsized the remaining cookies from Christmas to smaller receptacles. Still have a lot of springerlie.

Made so much food I don’t have to cook till Sunday dinner, then off to a short sojurn in Cincinnati – belated B-day gift to me.

Ta

IDK

My flea brain is in such a manic state these days; the juxtaposition of the beautiful sights of Spring, the uplifting and humorous stuff all over the interwebs vs the nonstop barrage of negative media, virus and weather updates. I also feel guilty for having a nice little comfy safe house, lots of food and at present, some financial stability (not for long unless the market rallies) and, notwithstanding reasonably good health.

If I remember to meditate, I can clear the cobwebs for a bit and if the weather isn’t too crappy, a walk helps.

Audubon Park

I’m lucky I like to cook but that’s becoming a dangerous pastime according to my scale. This past Easter Sunday with the family was courtesy of Zoom; I happily cooked the meal and did curbside delivery;

some of my wonderful children via Zoom

I just finished watching our wonderful new Governor Andy Beshear deliver his daily 5PM status report of covid-19 in the state of Kentucky. He has done a wonderful job being proactive rather than waiting (like the great orange one) and being reactive and has done much to make our endeavors to stay at home, not mass gather, observe social distancing and up the hand washing game have great value as is shown by our statistics. This state is at the bottom of the heap health-wise; we have some of the highest rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes in the country but as of this writing we are leading the pack in low numbers of virus cases and deaths due to his quick decisions and mandates. During the broadcast the Lt.-Gov was making an announcement from home; I could hear some muffled noise in the background, I thought it might be her kids playing a video game in the next room but it became louder and more repetitious and logic told me she wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. I switched to a watch party to continue listening and also to see the comments and find out what was going on. It was a loud, obnoxious group of protesters demanding the Governor open up the state to business and then quickly segued to right to life issues which shouldn’t be on any table, docket, legislative referendum or discussion whatsoever IMHO.

The Honorable Andy Beshear and Virginia

Many folks remarked if they wanted to work there was a great need in the essential worker sector i.e. grocery, fulfillment centers, food shoppers, & healthcare. They are much kinder than I as my thoughts were much more vulgar; I do have the sense to keep them to myself, especially on social media., although I do share a lot of posts that state my political views only much better than I ever could.

Some humans (metaphorically speaking) are so selfish, they care nothing for anyone other than themselves; they continue to gather in groups and ignorantly state this pandemic is ‘blown out of proportion’; I fear the militant extremist a-holes particularly in the deep south and northwest US who are all about their rights – to be what? to do what? These are not the folks who are racially or ethnically downtrodden who do have legitimate beefs with those who are too stupid to realize that none of us Americans are pure whatever they think they are but are all descended from some other blend of people who never owned this land anyway!

*sigh* I donate to the Team Kentucky and our local One Louisville funds, think I’ll go make some more bread.

Meh

I live in a small, 1930’s bungalow a block from a beautifully landscaped bird sanctuary of a neighborhood. My daily walks take me past all types of architecture and foliage. I consider it a form of forest bathing as I stop to admire and photograph a grand old tree or new cluster of seasonal flowers and ground cover. Folks wave as I pass by – I’m definitely taking advantage of my good fortune to live nearby, my self-care ritual.
This was a comment I posted to an article in an Apartment Therapy by Emma Balter titled I’ve Never Lived in My Dream Home, But I Did Live Next to Whole Blocks of Them. I appreciated our common thoughts as I’ve been blessed to live in the absolute best, sought-after neighborhoods in my city, whether I fit in according to financial or social standards or not. I made the most of these experiences and now continue to enjoy my life on the outskirts.
tree toes…so old

So….our current state of affairs. Most of my fear is for the health of my young family; minimal co-morbidities on my daughter’s side; my wonderful son is asthmatic and is alternately uber compliant or stupidly not and my husband who has the weirdest, worrisome pain in the ass reactions to any ailments. I’ve worked in an infectious disease environment for the last 20 years and that fact plus my OCD tendencies and rituals afford me a good amount of infection avoidance that I hope might get me through this because I’m effing old.

I hope I live long enough for my retirement financials to recover.

Not depressed or anxious, I only sweat the small stuff. I live in a safe little house; I have enough food to feed us and probably the neighborhood forever. The weather has improved (not so allergies but otc stuff helps); I can work in the garden, we have great neighbors and plenty of beautiful places to walk. I also just get in the car and drive, lots of things to look at in Louisville.

I’m lying about the anxiety but that’s present pandemic, tornado, financial ruin or not so besides my nightly few beers (quit smoking when I had the cancer surgery) I cook. And cook. And bake. Mostly carb-based yummies.

Today the boy-chick went off the rails and drive to Indiana because Mendard’s screwed up his deck stock order delivery so I baked chocolate chunk coconut oatmeal cookies.

Went to Aldi this am, early access for seniors; had my gloves and Microban to clean my cart. A few other folks lined up for the opening, we shared the cart cleaning. Ended up with a large haul and bleach-washed it all after I got home. Whew – load it in the cart, unload it at the check out; reload it into my car then unload it at home; clean it and put it away.

Headed to Total Wine to pick up my quarantine stash, wish they had curb pickup. Order was ready, locked and loaded but to exit I had to stand in a checkout lane behind a chatty customer who was leaning too close to the cashier, and dealing with paper money. Disturbing but I had on my gloves, had sprayed the cart with Microban and headed to the car; I had the husband glove up to load then sprayed the cases again with Microban. Removed my gloves, used hand sanitizer and enjoyed a leisurely drive home through our beautiful, eerily void of humans park.

Overkill? No, the major transmitter of this beastly virus is our hands touching our faces, which is an almost subconscious habit.

Glad no-one reads this, apparently I’ve lost the real focus of my reasons to begin this in the first place, I’d so love to share my thousands of recipes culled from the best periodicals, websites and blogs but it’s just turned into a therapy session. PM me if you would like a recipe. I need to not pay for hosting next year lol.

Beauty all around, forest bathing today!

hosting – the blog

very boring subject but since I’ve just wasted 4 hours of my life trying to understand the nuances, i’ll just take a minute to whine.  back in the day i started this blog with a free WP site; i stopped posting due to lack of mental content, time whatever.  in the ensuing years i’ve had a jillion more experiences, physically and mentally and realized that writing was a therapeutic tool i had used many times in the past. give me a yellow legal pad, a beer(s) and a bad day and off i go.  sometimes i could crank out page after page but the end game was a bunch of vitriol and other scrawled gibberish that i would ball up and toss.  this process did, however, sometimes give the issue perspective and me the ability to move forward, if only for a baby step.

these rants were directed at my father (i left out the nasty adjectives), bad bosses, situations with life and kids and husbands that sometimes almost paralyzed me.

these days i have become very relative (having seen quite a bit of the shit storm of life but also so much of the goodness) so i tend to see the different sides (except for the trump supporters because i know what they’re about).  i was blessed with the gift or curse of keen observation.  on one hand i do have mom eyes in the back of my head but on the flip side i see things that really gross me out.

nobody’s going to read this anyway but i still make sure there are no typos in my text.  hence, the decision to stay put with wordpress.com..  earlier i discontinued the relationship and requested a refund as i thought i was going to switch to wordpress.org.  the .com site offers free hosting, i like my simple design and interface and if somebody contacts me and says they want to pay me a bunch of money to land their ad on my page i might consider a switch.  but, as i’ve stated in previous posts, i personally hate all the crap bouncing around the page and how it loses my place as it shifts as videos of people stirring stuff in bowls try to load.  i hooked up for a little minute with Bluehost but it got so screwy trying to transfer my trivial stuff that i cancelled that as well.  thank goodness for live chat, i’ll never see these poor people.  i would hate that job (help desk) although, in reality, i probably lived it between my career in healthcare and my private life lol.

I’d love to share some lifestyle tips – shortcuts, diy stuff (we’re a family of makers) and my massive recipe file but since i don’t want to pay separately for hosting, you’ll just have to ask me a question.

ta

a good day(s)

wonderful, supportive club in Louisville

this good day began with Gilda’s yoga; wonderful, skilled instructors, many new peeps in today’s class ( thanks, cancer) and a strenuous chair or floor workout.

picked up the husband, he’s always excited to join me on my field trips because they might include a meal out. Haircut first at his salon; the gals were talking about their beginnings – doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you end up reminiscing about the great or shitty managers, characters you worked with and situations that made or broke you and maybe caused you to chart a different course. I rarely go to the salon, get my trims in the backyard but it’s a cold, dreary January day and I was looking pretty shaggy. I see why folks faithfully return to their stylists – it’s not just the do, it’s the atmosphere of care and camaraderie that’s comforting. Off to the Spectrum store to dump our remaining components and finally cancel the service. We now are amongst the somewhat limited income group and cable tv is another thing that gets the ax to help balance the budget. Long line there but a helpful perky rep greeted us and sent us to the UPS store where we dumped the stuff and went on our way to Trader Joe’s for kale gnocchi, cruciferous crunch, a lovely sweet potato and my favorite crackers. A short stop at Kroger for a lemon and a bag of pintos for Super Bowl chile which I just realized I left in the car. Hope the lemon isn’t frozen. Onward to Whole Foods for bulk dark rye, good flour (all for my breads) and brown rice krispy cereal for Tahini Brown Rice Treats. And lunch.

we like small bites of different things. the best for me was the lentil balls, I got a pic of the ingredients to try to copy. i did, however, really like the cranberry chicken breast and man’s mac n’ cheese. Dangerous crappy wonderful noodly cheesy stuff.

the good day proceeded to go a bit south, we’ve switched to ROKU + Philo streaming. 3 units already working great but man’s system downstairs is McGuyver’d with shit tons of wires and speakers and remotes. new unit didn’t allow the booming sound he so loves.

i set up the web pages for him to research and, bless his heart, he found a solution (i hope!!!) a specific unit that allows one to pair it with their sound crap. yay. ebay came through with a viable option but the remote won’t pair so waiting to hear from the seller. A moment of panic, rumors that ROKU was dropping FOX Sports or vice versa – tomorrow is the Super Bowl. at this writing, it’s still available; wouldn’t want to deal with having to set up streaming on all the various devices so we could see the commercials. actually, we’re all rooting for the Chiefs. actually we’re just in it for the food. i’m still using up parts of my hoard, promised myself i’d try to use what i have for the menu. so far so good, only had to buy fresh veggies. menu will be veggie pizza and carrot-in-a-blanket sounds gross but yummy marinade and sauce(using up refrigerated crescent rolls why did i buy these?), the obligatory black eye pea dip nothing but butter, cheese, green chiles, onion and a few peas, harissa wings, fresh veggies + hummus, spicy veg chile, cornbread and tiramisu brownie trifle (how could I have leftover brownies in the freezer?). beer.

Ta

pop-ups

dang

Don’t you just hate these? Especially the entry type that appear a second or two after you’ve entered a site. Even if I wanted what they were offering, I’d never click anything besides the x as a matter of principal. So intrusive; when I go to a site I immediately (and apparently stupidly) begin typing my search, which is interrupted when the pop-up appears. I lose my place, and occasionally my train of thought. Why would you think I would want to subscribe to whatever it is you’re promoting if I haven’t even seen it yet?

To happily digress, today’s email cluster brought Smitten Kitchen’s weekly newsletter – I’ve followed Deb Perelman for such a long time; she’s a wonderful writer and photographer, notwithstanding an amazing curator and creator of recipes. I can’t bitch about the size of my 9 x 11 kitchen when she manages in hers; I’ve never had counter space no matter the size of the room. My issue these days is the lack of storage for my absurdly massive collection of cooking vessels and tools. we were able to retrofit roll out shelves in the main area but the coat closet in the den, the basement and attic are homes for the bulk of the inventory including my hoard of food products.

Although my aged bod has failings and limitations, I’m blessed with good hips, knees and the balance to be able to haul my cast iron down the treacherous stairs lined with my ferments and bread making supplies.

I’d better stop getting annoyed about the pop-ups, the blood pressure is volatile in spite of diet, exercise and meds.

Ta

bread

I like a soft boiled egg on Friday; this is my feeling free day since I mostly retired a year ago. I actually have to schedule time to do nothing – a tip from Headspace https://www.headspace.com/, a very good site featuring guided relaxation and meditation on a myriad of subjects and situations. Also recommended by the Dutch, who seem to have perfected the art. The productivity addiction for me was unfortunate function of working for the man all these years. Have to get it done at work, then come home and do it some more.

My weekday routine has been to start the day with a protein shake; it’s an expeditious way to get the digestive system rolling and ensures that I will consume a certain amount of fruit each day. I wish I liked fruit more but since my taste buds are jenky due to them being radiated, eating fruit is a challenge. The sensation I get is like sucking on a lemon, no matter what fruit I try (except maybe a perfectly ripe peach or fig).

I usually have a cooked breakfast on Sunday consisting of leftover meal scraps, lots of veggies and greens formed into a frittata. Also, a serving of the ever popular avocado toast.

I love carbs so much. I made a gorgeous no-knead harvest bread for tonight’s Sunday dinner offerings. Also on the menu, a Southwest-style chopped salad with extra kale & spinach and vegetarian stuffed peppers.

I have been trying to use what’s in my pantries and both refrigerator/freezers; I don’t know if I lived through the Depression in a past life but I acknowledge the fact that I’m a food hoarder. Included in that issue are spices, herbs and kitchen tool. In my defense I use them all (except the food, I keep buying more).

My family joins us on Sunday so that clears out a certain amount of product but I also hoard recipes so I usually have to augment my stock. First world problems, eh?

This is my anxiety medication – lucky since none of the real stuff worked. Nothing tragic, just dark clouds all the time. I managed to go through the motions of life (work, keeping up the household & finances) but stopped socializing or wanting to do anything happy. There were a number of burdensome people and issues in my life at the time.

When I started this blog in 2017 I was trying to show myself that my life was good by writing about it. I think I described what precipitated my digitizing my life but it caused a spark. Also, I enjoy technology.

I had a cancer, which is in remission; I didn’t play into it but had a scare during the removal of it and lived to tell the tale. I unfortunately didn’t come away with a new zest for living, but decided I better act like it and start appreciating all my luck and some of the goodness in my life regardless of the bad bits.

I love my photographs and due to the aforementioned OCD tendencies, they were already organized and living in albums. Every day I see or hear about tragic catastrophes where people are still alive but have lost all their possessions. They always mention their pictures and photos. Most of my stuff I could live without but not my photo memories. I set about digitizing them all; I used a flatbed scanner for the albums, page by page titling and dating them. I scanned all the framed photos as well. This project took about three months as I chipped away at it a bit at a time. It actually was less tedious than I would have thought (since I didn’t have a personal deadline) and mostly fun looking at them all.

Next came the recipes, that was a labor of love. I had a ton in an old data binder (from family, friends, neighbors, potlucks etc.), a bunch of the little Pillsbury and Gooseberry Patch books, newspaper clippings and, of course numerous cookbooks with a zillion post-it notes stuck in them – cooked and liked, wanted to cook, bleah; time to thin the herd; I have no room for cookbooks nor could I find anything in them if I wanted to. I spent a fair amount of time editing and eliminating, then proceeded to copy the survivors into word documents. I was often able to find them online as so many came from Better Homes, Bon Appétit  and the many ‘Living’ mags i.e. Midwest, Southern and Sunset.

Unfortunately, each time I found one, another rabbit hole opened up lol! I did cross reference a lot of them e.g. chicken stew was filed under chicken and stew. They number almost 12,000, in 80 folders and sub-folders. They take up almost 4gb and are stored in Google Drive and redundantly on a thumb drive.

I love Google’s speedy and efficient search; put in the word ‘celery’ and it quickly will first list recipes with the name ‘celery’ in them and then begin diving deeper to any recipe with the ingredient. Great for using up little bits of things I refuse to throw away. I’ll find something that will use it.

Case in point – tonight’s dinner, as mentioned, uses an assortment of fresh and frozen (for too long) veggies and miscellaneous grains, plant-based meatish items and frozen grated cheese. Dessert is a Kentucky jam cake but more like an Oregonian as I had to use up some lovely Loganberry jam my daughter brought me from her trip west. Also some pretty old buttermilk but, like yogurt, who would know if it was bad? I think it will all complement.

Ta

good times

B-day present to me, road trip to Cincinnati & environs. Beautiful weather, first week in January. Landed in Covington (VRBO lodging); Google nav crapping out so we drove a bit and landed downtown and found a Cincy Zone parking spot … Continue reading

PACKAGING ARRRRRRRGGGHHHH

First world problems that make me crazy…

Whatever evil products do clothing manufacturers use to package their items with permanent wrinkles and creases? No amount of heat or steam removes these ridges and folds.

How about packaging?  I began a blog about 15 years ago so I could publically rant about things that drive me crazy but since I’m a pitiful introvert, I didn’t actually want to be publically noticed.   I know now that I’m in the majority (the packaging issue) and also old and nobody wants to read my shit, so I can bitch all I want. 

Stop with the blister pack, the foil on bottles that come to me in cardboard packaged bottles or containers with shrink wrap on them that I can’t see to remove.

Tools of the trade – an ice pick, needle nose pliers, this wonderful item,

and a large knife.

Ta