Wednesday, March 8, 2017

This Post for Foodies Only

Time to take a deep breath and plunge into a week or so of re-stocking my freezer with grab-and-go stuff. I have some “starter” stuff in there but it must be prepared - ham bones, chicken quarters, and the like. But I was thrown off track with a few weeks of frantic efforts dosing and caregiving for my Silkie.

Today I took a look and I only have 2 sets of meals in there - ham/pinto-beans and chili. And I made them back in mid-February. I’ve already used one or two of those, so I must get busy.

Yesterday, I began marinating some boneless skinless chicken thighs and today I am simmering them on the back burner. They smell so good. When they are done, I’ll pack them individually and they will be meal-starters. Over the next couple weeks, I hope to make some quarters into chicken barley soup, and cook a whole chicken to portion-out.

This morning, after I put the thighs on to cook, I knew I had some dishes to do and would need to turn on my water, so I looked to see what else I could do and then do all the cleanup in one water-session. I realized I didn’t have any more salad in the fridge ready to eat. It was time to make a garden salad that will last a few days. For these I use whatever is on hand. I gather everything on the counter around the bowl. My legs can’t take a long standing-session, so I work “smart.”

I had 2/3 of a bag of mixed greens I had picked up from the dollar store; I tossed in half of that. Then some diced beets (I open a can of sliced beets, and use them 1/3 at a time), some black and green olives (from dollar store or Walgreens on sale), about 6 black and 9 green. With the olives I do not get fancy - just cut the black in thirds/circles and the green in half or thirds. Next is some thin sliced red onion. I always use at least 1/2 diced cucumber for flavor, for juice and refreshing smell. I also took a stick of string cheese (lo-fat) and cut that lengthwise in half, then half again, and then diced that. I try to keep a head of cabbage in the fridge. I took a chunk off that and cut it fine. Sometimes instead of cabbage, I get a head of cauliflower, steam it, and add that to my salads. I do try for texture and color - if I’m gonna eat rabbit food, at least it will appeal to me.

For dressing, I use a medicine cup (about 4 tsp or a little over a tablespoon) of olive oil and 3 of wine vinegar. Sometimes instead of wine vinegar, if I have some I use juice from a jar of pickled anythings (peppers, pickles, whatever). That’s it.

I always need nibbles on hand, and easy to grab, or else I will fall prey to thoughts of running out for fast food or junk food. One of my go-to choices is popcorn. Our household fell in love years ago with Pop Weaver from Walmart. Out here, it’s $2 a carton for 8 packs to nuke. They have different varieties. When I pop a pack, I divide it into 3 1-1/2 recycled deli containers. It’s a perfect size for me. I made one of those this morning, so I have popcorn for a few days.

One other thing I did today was to force myself to move the bite-sized cantaloupe chunks from the back where they were slowly pushed, to the front of the top shelf. That way, anytime I open the fridge, something healthy and happy and tasty is facing me. I have another small container of those on a lower shelf, so I’m set for a few days, so long as I keep them in front of me.

See, I know my food faults and habits and addictions. The trick is to make sure I have better choices sitting there waiting for me. I do something like this at least once a week, and that way I can relax for a few days. 

Even if your household is full, you can prep some things just for you and your own needs and tastes, and hopefully the others will let it alone - nobody on this earth can guarantee that - we tried years ago. But it’s worth a shot at it.

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