Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Recently, she declared that it is her "favorite book." (After asking me "Hey Mama, what's you favowite book?" I told her my favorite of things I've read recently is The Help, but didn't get into much of a description of it.)
While we were in Texas, I think I suggested that we could actually make and eat green eggs and ham sometime, but it's possible that it was her idea. I told her that when we got home, I'd buy the ingredients and we could make it.
For the rest of the trip, and continuing when we got home, she's asked about it repeatedly. "Why we don't have what we need to make green eggs and ham?"
So, when I made my grocery list for the big trip yesterday, I made damn sure that it had eggs and ham and green on it.
I was planning on a fairly simple scrambled egg / ham / spinach thing, but as I was looking around for pictures from the book, I stumbled upon a recipe for Green Eggs and Ham Cups.
I gave Peeper her choice of scrambling it all together, scrambling the eggs with spinach and serving the ham on the side, or putting the eggs and spinach inside ham cups, and she loved that idea.
So, ham cups it was!
I basically followed the recipe linked above, with a couple of change: I left out the hot sauce, used two pieces of deli-sliced ham per cup, and did "over-process" the egg mixture, because I was going for a green-all-over look.
The ingredients: Egg (not shown, notice how close Peeper is), spinach, flour, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, butter, ham. There's no Splenda or baking soda. They are just loitering.
Peeper helped me to put everything in the blender. Here, she's dumping in an egg.
Everything but the ham, ready to blend.
Egg cups, ready for filling. I used two sliced for each one, and lay them at right angles to each other, for better coverage.
Filled and ready to bake.
Ready to eat!
Until now. It's not super-fancy, but you can download it here if you'd like.
This is what I had in mind:
This is what Peeper had in mind:
But she was very excited to see them, and surely she gets partial credit (or possibly extra credit) for telling me, repeatedly, that the word that rhymes with "goat" is "moat."
Monday, January 30, 2012
I (finally) went to the grocery today - Aldi, Giant AND Target, plus a stop at Staples for more baskets. Don't bother trying to shop at any of those stores for a while, there's nothing left.
And I shouldn't bother trying to shop anywhere for a while, because there's no money left either!
We were doing "what can I make out of these things I can scrounge in the pantry" for a while, so we were out of a lot of staples and I had to restock on that stuff, plus buy other stuff for specific meals. Which I'm pretending to have planned and actually be going to cook. Wish me luck.
I do know that tomorrow's lunch is going to be: green eggs and ham!
That's Peeper's favorite book these days, and while we were in Texas, she either asked if we could make it, or I suggested that we could. When we first got home, she asked about it daily, until I guess she gave up on Mama ever going to the grocery store again.
But I did go today (All by myself - while Peeper and Mommy visited with Grandma and Pappy, and Eena and Papa and AuntJ and J and S!), and now we own eggs, ham and spinach, so for breakfast or lunch or brunch or something, we're going to scramble them all together and make green eggs and ham!
(When we were reading it tonight, I did start preparing Peeper for the fact that it won't look like it does in the book!)
I've also sort of done some planning for other meals over the next couple of weeks (or longer, I hope, because it will be awhile before the bank lets me go back to the store!), but I have a long way to go on that.
This afternoon, I worked on making a master list of "Things We Can Eat" sorted by cuisine (Italian, Mexican, Asian, etc), meat (beef, chicken, well, that's pretty much it), cooking method (crockpot, casserole) and so on.
I started by stealing LadyKay's list, and tossing out anything that didn't sound yummy. Then I went through my "recipe file" (a file folder with a bunch of papers in it) which is all things that I've actually cooked at least once, and then I went through Pinterest - both my "Yummy Things" and "Healthy" boards.
We talked about setting up some sort of weekly or biweekly schedule - a Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc sort of thing, but haven't gotten too far with that yet.
Of course, for us, everything is kind of complicated by the fact that Shrike works evenings, so our "sit down together" meal is lunch, which is often preempted, or at least rushed, by MOMS Club or other activities.
But, I am going to try to sort out which days we will be free to sit down together, and which ones I'm likely to have time to cook something "real" and when I need to just get something on the table, and plan accordingly.
In the meantime, we are restocked and ready to eat!
The newly cleaned, moved, organized and filled "main" fridge:
There are some "back up" things in the other freezer, but I didn't take photos of those.
The filled snack cabinet. Yes, I broke down and bought the gallon of goldfish.
And the pantry. Not exactly organized yet, but not too bad. And definitely stocked up.
With a few last-minute cancellations, this morning's chocolate-themed recipe club turned into a playdate for Peeper and another three-year-old little girl. They played together very well, and her mom and I had a nice visit.
With brownies. And "pig lickers" - which are chocolate-covered bacon. And disturbingly delicious.
As we were getting ready to leave, Peeper spotted the box of goldfish on top of the fridge, and asked for some. I requested a ziplock to-go, since we were heading out the door.
She got out a bag for each girl, and as she poured some into the bags, she said, "Put the fish in the aquarium!" and then "Do your fish need food?" as she rummaged a bit, found a jar of sprinkles, and "fed" the fish.
When I told her so, she said, "Oh, I just made that up, just now."
Shrike's been resisting because, well, because it's me, and no matter how fancy the steam mop is, it doesn't get up and push itself across the floor. Nor do I.
After. Ahhh! (There's still a bit that it couldn't reach, but it's much better.
This is what the cleaning pad looked like after doing the whole kitchen. Ew again. It just pops right in the washing machine though, which is cool. The $25 model had two pads. That would be nice.
Aaaannd, ten minutes later? Muddy paw prints. Of course.
Peeper suggested that we wipe them up with a dishtowel. Hmmm, I'd never thought of that! She also helped me. "I wiw cwean over in dis area. You cwean in dat area." (yes, seriously.)
Where did all the lids go? Oh, there they are! This drawer used to hold, well, pretty much everything else. Now it's straws (which we'll be using regularly when I start making smoothies again) and more lids. I'm not really sure yet what's happening with all the lids, some of the repurposed jars and bottles will probably go, which will help a lot there. That's mostly what's in the basket at the top of the photo.
This is the bottom drawer, which was a big mess. It wouldn't shut all the way (see the after photo of the floor, above) so there were all kinds of food drips and crumbs in the front couple of inches of it, and it held mostly stuff that we didn't use much, but also the straws, which I was never thrilled about, because its non-closiness just made it all seem kind of icky.
Now it's again holding things we don't use much, but in a much more logical way. For starters, I was able to pull it all the way out and remove the funnel that had fallen behind it, so how it closes. Yay!
Then, I moved all the grilling utensils from the upper drawer down to this one, and clipped the skewers together so that they're not going every which way, and they only ended up taking up a little bit of the drawer, instead of being in the way all over the place in the other one. The basket is holding specialty cutting things, like the grater, avocado slicer, apple corer/slicer and french fry slicer, as well as one cork screw and one church key can / bottle opener (instead of about five wine/bottle/can openers), a couple of wine stoppers (one can dream, right?) and a few other little weird gadgets. I can't remember the last time I used any of those things.
When that photo was taken, there were still a few things in the dishwasher. I've since added a grilling basket, a stack of funnels and some taco holders to this drawer.
As I was going through these drawers, I boxed up a ton of stuff to get rid of - like all those other can / bottle / wine openers.
I didn't bother taking a photo of the regular silverware drawer, but I did some work in there, too. I added various knives, forks and spoons that I found in the other drawers, and revamped my sharps storage a bit.
A million years ago, (seriously, I think it was 1995?) LadyKay gave me a set of Ginsu knives for Christmas and I loved them. They didn't come with a block, though, so somewhere along the way, in our early years in this house, I think, I bought an empty one at a yard sale. The slot for the butcher knife wasn't quite big enough, so it stuck up a bit, and the other slots weren't the right size or number, and there were no places for the steak knives, but we managed.
Then I got three ceramic knives - a butcher and two paring - for Christmas last year, and had nowhere to put them, so they went in the back part of the silverware drawer.
(The drawer has built-in dividers, just three "vertical" compartments up front, where all the "regular" forks, spoons and knives go, just jumbled up in their respective bins, and then the back part.)
The Ginsus were still supposed to be in the block, but we could never get it right, so it was usually empty, and taking up a bunch of space on the counter, so I ditched it.
I added one of the small baskets for peelers and other sharp-things-that-aren't-knives-and-are-rarely-used, and that's way in the back, then all the knives (and the scissors, because I use them a lot) are right behind the regular stuff.
I'm not overly thrilled with reaching into a drawer full of sharp things, but I'm careful to put them in with all the blades on the left and all the handles on the right. Since I'm right handed, I'm reaching in to the right side anyway, and so far that's worked.
(Having said that, I probably ought to go ahead and schedule a post for tomorrow about my trip to the ER to sew a finger back on or something.)
This set-up also puts all the sharp things in the back of the top drawer, furthest from Peeper's reach.
(And, have said that, we'll probably be getting a two-for-one deal on finger stitches.)
I've done a couple of other little miscellaneous things over the past week or so.
Actually, this first one is Shrike's. And it's a funny story. As kitchen-organizing-stories go.
While I was in Texas, I was checking out Pinterest and found an idea about using magazine holders to organize canned goods in a pantry. I showed it to Anonymama - who, as you've seen, has a lot of canned goods - and she loved the idea.
So, Peeper and I picked up a couple of different kinds at Target, but they were both too narrow for the cans and too tall for her pantry. Boooo.
But, I'd seen another idea about using them to corral boxes of wraps (plastic, foil, etc) and thought that would work great, because she just had those sitting out on the counter, so they are easy to get to.
I stuck them all in one, and she was thrilled. (I later learned that she's using the other one to corral cans of non-stick spray; she uses several varieties - plain, butter, olive oil, etc.)
When I got home, what did I find on our kitchen counter?
I asked Shrike if I'd told her about doing that at my moms, and she said "No, I saw it on Pinterest."
Now, we follow a lot of the same people, so maybe it wasn't my repin that she saw, but it very well could have been.
I'm not sure I'm thrilled with how these look sitting out on the counter, but they are certainly freeing up a lot of room in the drawer that they used to live in, which makes more space for the ziplocks that also live there.
The thing about getting rid of the knife block was part of a whole big rearrangement of small appliances and other thingies in the corner where all the action happens. To summarize, the knife block went away, the toaster and my new coffee maker traded places, and I put all my coffee syrups (Merry Christmas to me) where the toaster and knife block were, and corralled them on a tray that some sort of food came on one time, and had been washed and stuck with Peeper's art things.
No, we're not taking that many drugs. That's actually several empty bottles from the same prescription, waiting to be recycled or something. I don't know. Shrike has a plan.
And here's the other half of that area.
Hmmm. I just realized that I am actually telling this story a little bit out of order.
The syrups are supposed to have pumps. I had three pumps and somehow they have disappeared. Shrike has finally admitted that she thinks she might have thrown them away when she threw out the last batch of empty bottles, because she didn't realize that they had to be purchased separately, but at the time that I did this, I was still operating on the assumption that they have to be here somewhere.
That's actually what prompted the drawer clean-out and reorganization project. But I just don't have it in me to go back and re-order this post, so screw it.
Consider it a stream-of-consciousness sort of thing. You know, me and James Joyce, we're practically the same writer.
Today, I tackled what turned out to be a much bigger project than I had intended.
Actually - again with the stream of consciousness - our first project of the day was to finally get rid of the crib/youth bed!
Our friend A came over with little J, Shrike and I loaded all the parts up into the truck while J and Peeper played and A stayed with them to keep J from freaking out about Mommy is leaving! Then Shrike followed A down to her storage building and unloaded it all, and the bed is now waiting for J to be ready to move out of Mommy's bed and get a "Big Girl Bed" of her own.
While Shrike was gone, I started to sit down and try to figure out what we might want to eat over the next couple of weeks, so I could make a grocery list. Before I got very far with that, I thought I ought to get the old leftovers out of the fridge, to make room for the food.
Then I got carried away. In a big way.
First I got all the yucky leftovers out. Oh, that's where all my not-Tupperware is.
Then I decided that the fridge itself was disgusting, so I took out all the food, and tossed anything out of date. This is what was left.
Looking at the empty fridge, it was obvious that nothing short of pulling out all the shelves and drawers and giving them a bath in the sink was going to be sufficient for dealing with the grossness.
(Note to self: Never, ever, ever buy red Koolaid again. Or food.)
Once I had the interior of the fridge clean, of course, I had to do the freezer, too.
I started on that by taking out all the various ice packs that we received with shipments of fertility drugs (and one from the damn Similac "breastfeeding gift bag" (WTF?) that we got when Peeper was born) and putting them away. Getting rid of those and the frozen bottles of water pretty much emptied it. What on earth did we think we were going to need to ice down?
When I saw how little food was left in there, I moved some in from the "annex" refrigerator, and then I noticed that it was dirty, too, so I started cleaning it.
Now, let me explain about the "annex" - One day Shrike used that term to refer to the pantry in the laundry room, which we were using to hold a few overflow groceries. Since then, it's become our primary pantry, but the term has stuck, for both the pantry and the fridge that are in that room.
That fridge is actually one that I bought many moons ago, when my old roommate and I moved into a house that didn't have one. Since I quit living with her, I've only lived in places that already had a fridge, so I've always had two. This one has usually been our main one, and we've used the smaller, not-as-fancy one that came with the place for overflow.
Except here. I'm not quite sure why, but for eight and a half years, we've been using the smaller fridge for our every-day food, and only sticking overflow, stock-ups and party food in the good fridge.
As I was cleaning it, I started noticing how much bigger it is, and how much more stuff it has, and how you can configure it in more ways, to fit your needs, and how the produce bins are clear, so you can actually see that you own fruits and veggies, and maybe even eat them (I'd just declared, while cleaning the other fridge, that I am actually going to start putting produce in the produce drawers again, and try really, really hard to remember that it's there.) and it has an ice maker that maybe someday could actually have water connected to it, if someone who knew how to do such things would be willing to do it.
Well, I guess you know were this is going by now.
I got out the tape measure and found out that the big fridge would fit - by millimeters - in the space in the kitchen, and nothing for it, but I was going to move these damn things. Today. Before I fill them up with food.
If you're thinking that it must have been a big job to move two fridges all the way across the kitchen and switch their locations, you don't know the half of it. You don't know the tenth of it.
We have lived here for eight and a half years. This is the first time either fridge has been moved. For all of that time, we've had pets - five of them for most of it, very sheddy pets - and the big fridge was in the room where GirlCat spent most of her time. Mostly shedding, evidently.
See what I mean about it just barely fitting?
The freezer. See what I mean about needing to go to the grocery store?
The fridge. We really need to go to the grocery store. As you can see, there was no cooking happening tonight. Papa John's to the rescue.
But I can make you some quesadillas.
Damn, we have a lot of magnets. Why didn't it look like this many before? On a smaller fridge?
And here's the little fridge in its new home, with its magnets. I put all the photos that we don't want Peeper to pull off and play with out here.
Have I ever showed you this? This is MamaCat and her babies when they were brand new. In fact, in the top center photo, she's pregnant with them. How cute her is tummy when she's standing up like that?
The top right photo is BoyCat and GirlCat and all the others are of all four of them. You can pretty easily identify BoyCat in most of them, as he's the only stripy one. You can sort of tell GirlCat, because she was, ironically, the runt of the litter. (She got over it.)
Whew. I thought I was tired after doing all that, but I'm even tired-er after writing about it.
And you're probably nodding off after reading it.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I spent much of today rather distracted by a little project that I was working on (more on that in my next post) but Peeper managed to grab me for a little bit of outdoor playtime.
We did a little swinging . . .
. . . then we went on a poop mission.
She saw some dog poop, so I had to inside, get the key to the shed, unlock the shed and get the pooper-scooper, then scoop up all the poop that she could find.
Actually, she pointed out about three piles and then went off on her merry way, while I continued to seek and scoop.
She was talking the whole time, but I was wearing my earmuffs, so I couldn't hear much of what she was saying. I did catch it when she asked me to fill up her watering can, and explained that we can't play outside with water in the winter. (It was about 40 degrees out at the time.)
When I finished, I shouted to her that I was going in to wash my hands, and I realized that she was no longer out there. I went in the house and called for her, and found her in the bathroom.
"I washin' my hands, 'cause I played in the mud!"
She can't reach to turn on the water, and also knows not to (maybe) so she was standing at the sink, rubbing her muddy, soapy hands all over the inside of it.
I told her that it was a great idea to wash her hands when they were muddy, but that next time, she should ask a grownup to help!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
This weekend is our town's annual Ice Fest.
They usually put out the one-block, pre-carved sculptures on Thursday and start carving the "giant sculptures" in place, then have the ribbon cutting ceremony that evening, but since it was raining that got pushed back to yesterday.
I'm sure that keeping them out of the rain helped somewhat, but they would have been even better off if the weather weren't in the upper 40s during the day, and not quite down to freezing at night.
It certainly didn't slow down the crowds, though. Drippy, abstract ice sculptures aside, it seems that people are alot more interested in wandering around downtown in 40ish weather than 20ish.
Other than having to squint and guess what some of them were, it was actually quite pleasant, and Peeper really got a kick out of the "ice statues."
This is one of the big attractions: The Giant Chair. I never hear anyone refer to it as a "throne," it's always "The Giant Chair." Every kid in town has an annual photo sitting in The Giant Chair. We had to wait in line for a while, and I even saw teenagers getting up there.
The handles of this vase were just about to go.
A nurse, sponsored by a local health center.
Every kid in town has this annual photo, too.
Another big chair, but not The Giant Chair.
This is one of the "giant" sculptures. How big?
At first, I thought this was a seahorse. . .
. . . but since it's sponsored by a Chinese restaurant, I'm assuming it's a dragon, as in "the year of."
One of my personal favorites - a giant taco, from the Mexican restaurant that we go to.
In addition to the sculptures themselves, today was the chili cook-off, the cake decorating contest, and - our primary destination - the ballet.
Peeper and I spent about an hour looking at the ice and then headed over to the theater. Technically, the performance included three separate ballets, two short ones and a longer.
The first was "Winter Scene" which was basically ballet dancers pretending to ice skate, but it was much more entertaining than that makes it sound.
The second was called "Mozartiana" and was just three dances, and then the main feature was "The Firebird" which was performed under black light.
It was very cool, and I really wish I could show photos of it, but of course, that's not allowed.
During the first half, Peeper was totally alert, watching every step, clapping when appropriate and clapping along with the music at other times.
During The Firebird, she was started to get sleepy, and nursed for a while in the middle. She might have also been a little bit scared, because it was during the bit battle scene, which is the Firebird and Prince versus the main bad guy, who is a "grotesque bird-like creature" (with a weird bird mask and giant hands) and his "Infernals" which are wolves and skeletons. And scary music. And glowing, black-lighty things.
I asked her later, though, and she said it wasn't scary, and told me that she liked that part, so maybe she was just tired.
Afterward, when I asked what her favorite part was, she said that it was "the snowflakes," which it turns out means the Snow Fairies, who are the very first dancers in Winter Scene. Because "Dey had cwowns!"
She's a sucker for a tiara.
Afterward, I offered to take her out to eat, but she just wanted to come home. When we got here, she stripped down to her panties (of course) and started reenacting the ballet. She was Pwince Iv-wan (Ivan) and her ballerina doll/ornament was the Firebird.