More thoughts on Simplified eating

img_0165 My home made bread.

Simple Foods

I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about what it is I’m trying to do with Simple Eating. So far I’ve come up with

  • Eating the same foods for meals simplifies meal time and allows me to have what I need on hand. For instance, breakfast. We have chickens, therefore lots of eggs. My go to breakfast is: 1 egg either fried or scrambled and since I make my own bread, a slice of toast. I also make my own granola, granola with yogurt is a go to. I was making my own yogurt but then buying the organic at Costco for 6.49 seemed like a  no-brainer. Making yogurt is pretty easy  to make so that maybe something to try.
  • so, decide what breakfast works for you and that you have ingredients available. Perhaps you do smoothies. Then be sure that’s what you do almost daily and it simplifies the process.
    image

    Our girls lay pretty colored eggs!

    Having what you need on hand makes the difference in a stressful morning or a calm one.

    Bulk buying

  • Buying in bulk such as black beans, pintos, rice, cheese, coffee, meat, butter, let’s me put meals together easily. If you don’t want to make your own beans, buying the organic cans at Costco is a great option too. I keep canned beans as well since once in awhile it’s nice to open black beans and then just cook up some rice.

       Right equipment

  • Having the right kitchen equipment makes some of this easier. A crockpot is essential. You can throw together chicken, veggies, sauce and then 6 hours later it’s done. I do all my beans in the crockpot. I put in @ 2 cups of beans, rinse, and then cook on high for 7-8 hours. The last hour I add garlic cloves and salt. Next is a rice maker.  This is a must if you eat rice once a week. I use to make rice using the Tassajara recipe book. It was fun until you forgot about it and it burnt. With a rice maker, it is fool proof.

 

        Menus

  • Having a menu is essential even if it is just variations of what you do every week.  such as Taco Tuesday can be tacos, but also bean and rice bowls or pizza night might be homemade but once in awhile it’s take- out. So plan for the week wth your menu.
  • Have a theme for each night for dinner ie; the taco Tuesday etc.
  • cook once and then use leftovers. I try and do roast chicken once a week or week and a half. Then I make up menus based on leftovers. Chicken tacos, chicken soup in the winter, chicken salad.

Planning ahead to shop also allows you to figure out what you need and if you buy what in season that makes meal planning easier too.

I think also, simple food eating has a lot to do with what season you are in your life too. Do you have young kids, retired, teenagers? That will certainly make a difference in how you try and simplify meal planning.

 

Simple Eating

In this journey of minimalism, I’ve wanted to expand past the decluttering and streamlining things to food as well. Not so much decluttering that area but eating simpler and eating the same foods weekly to simplify menus etc. We do eat pretty simple but for some reason, I want to even more.

I’ve always bought bulk foods, rice, beans, etc since the 1970’s. Even soaps, detergents, canned goods etc because it’s easier for me and simpler to buy bulk and then not have to think about those things for 6 months. Back in the 1970’s we’d go out to a place called Mother Truckers by Ananda. Mother Truckers is still there and does a brisk business. Ananda is still there although many changes have occurred. It’s still a spiritual community based on Yogananda Paramahansa’s teachings. Anyway, we’d go out there, which was about a 2-hour drive for us, and get bulk shampoo, honey, etc.

Now co-ops are everywhere or Whole Foods and you can great bulk items.  I can even get Lundberg organic brown rice at Costco in a 12 lb bag. I can get a 10lb bag of sugar and there’s honey in large jars. I don’t use as much honey anymore so we just get a smaller jar.

I still get 10 lb bags of rice and beans and store in glass jars.  I use to buy the 25 lb bags but that was more than we’d use in a reasonable amount to time. I even have some of my original gallon jars I had from the 70’s. I use to go around to the restaurants and ask for their old pickle jars, mayonnaise because you couldn’t really buy the gallon jars anywhere.

I use a weekly menu that’s simplified to some extent but I’d like it to be more so. Maybe as I get older or further in this minimalist journey, I just don’t want to think about things like what extravagant meal do I want to cook. I want my food choices to be simple.

I like wearing the same clothes and keep my colors to black, white, gray and occasionally deep purple or navy blue.  So with food, I want to have fewer choices so I don’t have to think about it.

Our weekly menu looks like this

Sunday- BBQ or roast something ( need to refine this)

Monday- pasta something ( this can be mac and cheese,or lemon spaghetti, or ?

Tuesday- Taco Tuesday ( really anything Mexican)

Wednesday- Sorta whatever day ( this is the one I need to work on)

Thursday- crockpot something,  usually pinto beans or black beans Then we add tortillas, avocado, salsa,. If its soup in the winter fall, bread along side.

Friday- homemade pizza

Saturday- This turned into sammie Saturday. A simple sandwich of some sort.

I want to work on what foods we’re eating. We like and eat a lot of beans and then I usually use the rice cooker to make organic long grain rice for the week.

Some chicken, tofu, a little beef and a little fish (not too often).

Breakfast is always eggs/toast or bagel/yogurt/fruit

Lunch is a salad or leftovers or 1/2 sandwich

I just don’t want to cook extra fancy stuff too much anymore. I do love cooking and trying new recipes, but I still want a base to work from.

Sunday stuff

I washed the Poang chair cover yesterday and today I’ll do the Ikea couch covers. The sun is drying everything and saving me from using the dryer. It’s actually hot here although not unbearable, about 88 or so. We had a nice BBQ and I made some potato salad. I have lots of leftovers.

Today B leaves for Long Beach for a meeting for 4 days. We’ll hold down the fort here. My son finished his semester and so is able to do some extra things. He’s planning on doing a few flea markets to raise some extra money for his year at SFSU.  I’m putting aside some stuff for him to sell. Plus he’s a bit of a hoarder so he has lots of old things he picks up at goodwill and he can try to sell that stuff. I actually have had some good stuff he could have sold but I had already put it in the Goodwill box. But I have a big stack of Life and I’m going to pick out some 1930’s ones that may sell. He has lots of Starwars, Star Trek, etc to sell. So hopefully he can make a couple of hundred. We haven’t heard back on his housing yet or his student loan stuff. I will try and have him call this week about the student loan as one of them we will be the co-signer on.

We are haveing great salads from the garden and should continue to for a few weeks. This is definitely lettuce time and then it’ll bolt. We also have some lovely radishes too.

I’ve been on a linen kick here since I mad the linen bread bags. Then I made linen tote bags and now I’m doing some pillow cases. I love linen and how it looks. I found a source that sells 120 wide for sheets so I’m considering that.  It’s been fun to sew on my new machine and make a few usable things. I’m still planning on making the tent trailer new curtains but I may end up using up all the linen I had bought for that. It runs about $10 a yard so very affordable.

I went thru all my magazines and sorted them by decade. I used to have them all sorted this way even by month. But that’s when I had 40 bins worth.  There’s still a lot there but I’m down to 6 small bins so not bad. I rearranged stuff on the shelves and there’s more space there too.

On the back wall of the other half of the barn, B is going to build shelves so my son can pack all his stuff he’s not taking to SF this fall. So that’s our next project for hopefully, next weekend. The bikes are hung up and it looks better that way too. We still have a lot of bins of camping stuff, life jackets etc, but that’s all stuff we need.

Today is a gym day and dinner is something simple, salad and?

This week I need to go to Costco and maybe Trader Joes. We’ll see.

Rainy again

It’s a rainy Monday. We walked in the park and it was just misting.  Yesterday, there was an Easter service that we walked by. And there were 3 sets of new baby goslings.  Unfortunately today we saw a Canada goose had been gotten by a coyote or mountain lion and feathers were everywhere. And there were only 2 sets of parents.  Canada Geese are extraordinarily fierce with their young so it must have really tried to protect the babies. WE did count the babies and I got to 19 so maybe some of the ones of killed goose went over to the other parents. I hope so.

We had southern fried tofu for Easter dinner. Of course, we don’t celebrate Easter as such, just as a renewal of a new cycle of life. Not based on Jesus. So I made a potato salad and we had some deviled eggs. I didn’t fry the tofu but baked and you’d think the end of the world had come. I guess I’m not doing that again.  It was pretty good just not quite as tasty as when I fry them.

This week is not too busy. I have an Invisalign appt, and that’s it. Plus I’ll go to the Koffee Klatch on Thursday.  I have a good size load of Life magazines to go the Humane Society Thrift store.  There are some great ones from the 40’s going but it’s just the way it needs to be. Plus the van is full of Foodbank boxes so I’ll do that tomorrow on the way to the gym.

Next week are my labs so that’ll be interesting. At some point, my light chains will begin to increase and then who know. For now, I live each day as if it is a gift.  Life is precious, non-essential live it as fully as you can.

 

One thing about minimalism is that as you clear the nonessential, you really begin to experience things differently. DEfinetely clearer and more in touch with what is around you. It’s a process for sure.  I have to say, every time declutter or look at what is it I want around me, I’m surprised at what the answer to that is. I want my house to be clean, clear of stuff and just a simple place to live, cook and be. It’s getting there.

They’ll be a lot of no spend days this week as the budget is used up. We have a DMV to pay and that’s about it. So, freezer meals and pantry plus what I bought at Costco. Lots of salads.

Tonight is pasta night. I’m thinking an alfredo with a big salad.

 

 

What’s new?

Well, I’ve been working on a Facebook page for our branch library in Applegate. It’s possibly going to be closed and it serves an enormous need in that area. the circulation there is small but the wi-fi is used constantly as are the public computers and the children’s program.  I personally don’t use this branch but Nevada county but that’s for personal reasons BUT I support this library in every way I can because I feel passionate about libraries especially small rural ones. Many people in the community would have no wi-fi access or access to a computer without this branch.  I’m a member of the FOAL and am going to be VP for the coming year as long as my health holds steady.

Then I’ve been washing the Ikea couch covers and today I’m doing the main cover. Last time I did them all at once and this way I’ve done the cushions first ( 2 days) and then today the cover.

Yesterday I made a loaf of bread and it came out very nice. I have professional loaf pan from williams sonoma but it’s 1  1/2lbs . So ususally when I make it in this the loaf just doesnt rise up that far but yesterday the recipe had 4 cups of flour so it was definetely a 1 1/2 loaf.

At least it’s been sunny out but still quite cold.

I’m heading to the gym today and then tomorrow I have an eye doctor appt. I guess I’ve decided to get the cataract surgery for my right eye. I have trouble seeing out of that eye so I’m sure it will be a big difference. With all the steriod use I’ve had I guess it caused some cataract stuff. I was going to hold off but really now is a better time since I’m not on any chemo drugs.  So that will probably be sometime this spring.

Dinner is spaghetti and meatballs.( for the meat eaters), just spaghetti for the veg.

Simple Sunday

Our internet is out so I’m using B’s hot spot in his phone for the internet. ATT will be here this morning. After they fixed the lines that went down in the storm the wifi has not worked. This happens every 2-3 years so I guess we should have expected it.  But I was able to pay some bills and send off an email I needed to.

It is quite cold( 31 , this morning). But at least it’s sunny. Today, I’m going to the gym with my daughter who joined yesterday. What fun, now we can go together.

Flylady has 2 zones this week as Feb ends and March begins.

This also marks my 11 th birthday from my SCT. I went into the hospital Feb 28 and was released March 17. I spiked a fever and had to go back in for another night but overall it was ok. It takes a lot out of you since the drug Melphalan is basically mustard gas poison that is given to you to kill as many myeloma cells as possible. Then your own stem cells are reintroduced.  You basically have your white blood cells go to zero and red too. I needed 2 transfusions.  Finally, the stem cells start to produce healthy cells and your white blood and red blood count starts to go up.  It is very difficult and you’re basically half dead.

So as this new month begins , here’s to my elevensies birthday. 🙂

I need to go the market for some milk and ? cat food. I’m not sure what’s on the dinner menu except I have asparagus to use up so I’ll roast those in the oven. Maybe a quiche?? I need to check the freezer to see that I’ve got.

 

the Williams Sonoma Roast Chicken with Blood Oranges and Red Onion

img_0522So this came out pretty good overall. You could taste the orange zest in the chicken. I didn’t make a gravy with the onions although the red onions looked yummy. I cook the whole chicken in a cast iron pan. Being a former vegetarian, I tend to over cook meat but this came out great.

recipe here’s the link.

Hawaii Planner asked about cooking a whole chicken. It’s really so simple and easy. For a family of big eaters, roast 2. It’s just as easy to do 2 chickens and there are lots of leftovers. So, I use either organic chickens or like Marys, or Rocky chicken at Safeway isn’t organic but is natural. So I just put the chicken in my cast iron skillet. I usually cut up an onion to put under the chicken. Then I use a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over it. Then I put a lemon cut up in the cavity with maybe some thyme from the garden. Then I smoosh some butter on the top of the bird, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sometimes I put cloves of garlic in with lemon. Then I roast at 375 degrees for usually an hour and a half. If you’re doing 2 chickens I’d go at least 2 hours and voila you have a beautiful dinner. Of course, paranoid me with cooking to the right temperature, I use a digital thermometer just to check.

So since my husband is still vegetarian, I always grill some tofu up with tamari and butter. I think if I wasn’t too lazy I could have cooked up some red onions and blood oranges with the tofu. I often make the same recipe for him just using tofu.

I oven baked a sheet pan of red onions and organic asparagus that I got at Costco.

Speaking of Costco, I said we were so happy to get the organic queen sheets. So, I washed them and my husband aways makes the bed on sheet day( Sunday). So he tells me later gee, the bottom sheet was kinda big.  So later I pull up the corner and it’s a cal King. WTF, The top sheet is a queen and the bottom Cal king. So now on a rainy Monday I have to ( maybe I can get B to do it), got back to Costco which is 25 minutes away, and get a refund and then go into the store and get another pack and then you can bet in the parking lot I’m going to open them and check.  Well…

Plus we’re in for rain and the wind today. But the worst wind is tonight from 10 pm to about 4 am. This bothers me because of my wind phobia ( mostly wind and trees combined), and it will be at night when it’s dark. Well, whatcha gonna do???