Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We have freezer issues.

So lately I've had some much-needed time around the house. Among other things, I have organized and unpacked the kitchen (it's sad that we've been here since December...), changed the sheets and flipped the mattress, made some inferno-hot soup that won't make it to this blog since it was such a disaster, spent the entirety of an afternoon lounging in the sun on the back porch and finished unpacking all our books in the living room. I also slept in.

And then this past Sunday I addressed the freezer.

We have freezer issues. Like, we hoard food. We have piles of food in our freezer and yet never seem to eat it. Our pantry is almost as bad, but not quite. So I decided to go through and make a list of everything in the freezer in hopes that we could begin cooking our way out of a full freezer. Because Dave is sick of stuff falling out of the freezer when he goes to get ice, and I am sick of buying new food when we have months worth in the freezer!

Here is a partial list (I will spare you the unabridged mostly so I don't have to type it all): roasted butternut squash (pureed from last season's CSA), massive amounts of fried rice left over from a work event (it's kosher, in case you care), asian veggie soup (single serving), almond meal, sweet corn, one piece of french toast I have been eyeing lately since I can't eat it, shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, beef bones I plan to make stock with, individually sealed tilapia, sweet italian sausage, 1 serving of homemade tomato sauce with veggies, kielbasa, swordfish (just one steak), hot dogs, ground beef (approx 1 lb), tater tots, vanilla ice cream, turkey meatballs (from Trader Joes - I love these!), and approx 4 servings of this tomato, ground turkey, potato concoction that I swear I am going to turn into a lasagna someday.

So the list is now posted on the front of the fridge and moving forward I think we need to commit to something like two meals a week using mainly freezer ingredients. Either that or I will simply ban Dave from purchasing any meat or seafood until we are out of frozen stuff. Those are the items I am most embarrassed about since it just seems excessive to have that much variety of MEAT and SEAFOOD. Really. I'd feel less silly having 6 different kinds of dried beans or three different pastas (which we also have, in the pantry...)

Any thoughts on what to make first? Gumbo comes to my mind...

News in the Kitchen: we have worms! (AKA: Distraction #3)

Hooray for worms! (both the receptionist at my office and the mail carrier that brought this package basically freaked out when they found out what was inside!)

I am so excited to announce that we are now composting our food scraps. Worms eat our garbage! I have been wanting to do this ever since last summer when I visited a friend with worms under her sink, but finally got everything together to make it happen. I put together a workshop through work for others to make their own bins, and as a result made one for ourselves. Very exciting, indeed.

Updates of their progress will follow - but after approx. 2 weeks, I am already seeing compost being produced! Yippee! Those red wigglers are very good at their job. However, we have realized that with the winter buyers co-op currently and then the CSA coming up, we need a bigger bin to accommodate all our scraps. Currently there are lots of orange peels and egg shells and coffee grounds; but also tons of carrot and parsnip peels. I just feel like I'm overwhelming the worms. The good news is - I have already made a larger bin (at a "not-as-good-as-ours" workshop I went to in order to research for ours), and all I have to do is assemble everything. This is scheduled for completion Wednesday (tomorrow).

Distraction #2: The Israelis in B'more

My job entails working with a group of teens who are a part of a leadership development program focused on hands-on service. This group of 20 Baltimore teens has a counterpart group of 20 Israeli teens in Ashkelon, Israel who participate in virtually the same program. They visit America in March and we visit Israel in July. So the Israelis were here and that meant long hours for yours truly.

I took at train to New York to meet them at the airport, show them around NYC for the day and then bus down to Baltimore. After a quick trip to Ohio for the above-mentioned funeral I staffed an overnight at the teen center followed by a full day of hands-on volunteering. I also got a black eye from an incident at Laser Tag (I slammed into someone else while rounding a corner - he was completely uninjured, of course), worked the closing dinner until 10 pm followed by sending the group off at 7 in the morning.

Did I mention that half this time I was driving a 15-passenger van full of said Israeli teens? Good times, indeed. Bottom line: this tired me greatly, and left very little time for blogging, let alone time for taking care of my new "pets".

Distraction #1: The death of Aunt Dee Dee.

My father's aunt, my great-aunt (although we called her a GREAT great aunt because she was so great), was basically my grandmother on his side and the matriarch of that entire side of the family. Her physical and at times mental health had been in decline since before my wedding almost three years ago, and although it was sad for everyone involved, we knew she was ready to go. She had been clear on when it would be time; there was a living will in place and we were to follow her wishes. The scary thing was her timing. She died roughly a week short of her 79th birthday. Before passing she had noted on more than one occasion that her time was near since both her mother and sister had died at the age of 78. Creepy to say the least.

Her life was celebrated greatly in the bringing together of her three sons and all their children, in addition to my parents and myself and all the cousins who were certainly treated as her closest kin.

Here's to an incredible woman who I aspire to emanate and remember as my Bubbe (jewish grandmother).

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I've gotten behind, so behold: there will be many updates to follow. I am listening to Weezer's blue album and rockin it out on this Saturday afternoon. I have treated myself to a glass of wine, since we opened the bottle to accompany dinner last night and didn't finish it - and hey, it is after 5 pm. And it is not bread, so I can eat (er, drink) it. I am craving keebler soft batch cookies since I have decided to keep Passover in the roughest sense this year. No bread. No pasta. No yummy soft batch cookies. Only blech-y matzah, and of course all the yummy fresh vegetables, meat or dairy that I want. And yet I want cookies. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A present just for you!

OVER TWO WEEKS AGO, my friend Amy posted this way fun present-receiving post. I emailed her right away to sign up, and all I had to do was post the same thing. Well - obviously, I got a bit side-tracked. Things have been hectic (more on that later!) lately, but tonight I am making time to do it!

Here are the rules:
If you want in, shoot me an email at JLGBman {at} gmail {dot} com, say hello and include your name & mailing address.

The first five people to respond to this post will get a package in the mail containing something special made by me. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

I make no guarantees that you will like what I make but I will do my best.
It'll be done in the next couple months.
You have no clue what it's going to be - that's the fun part!
It could be artwork, a little hand-knit thing, baked goods, a mix CD, a photograph, a DVD with TV shows that will cause you to become addicted to something I love, another surprise, or some combo of these items.

What will it be? You'll have to wait and see! I reserve the right to do something completely bizarre or completely normal.

Here's the fine print:
In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note of your own (& change the above to stuff you do) and make something for each of the 5 people who respond to you. What could be more fun!!!! Some ideas you could do for others: (artwork, CD's, Burn a DVD, write a poem, make a mini book, send a photograph (a printed one, not e-mailed. etc...)
For those who don't have their own blog - you could do this as a note on Facebook instead if you are there...

Thanks Amy for including me... I can't wait to see what I get - and start working on things for other people!