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FoodWasteFriday Well after last week’s doozy, I became very aware of what was in my fridge and purposely tried to NOT buy extra groceries b/c we prob wouldn’t eat them in time.  I truly am amazed at how easy and how much people truly over buy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having variety and different options weekly but sometimes I look at things and wonder ‘What was I thinking when I bought that?!’  It could’ve been an ingredient for a new recipe that I wanted to try but didn’t get to OR something ‘just because’ it was new/different and I wanted to try.

Needless to say – this week, since we’ve been eating from our well stocked freezer and fresh garden bounty, there is no waste to report! Yay!!  We had a close call with 2 avocados but I did dice them and flash freeze the cubes to be used in a shake later on down the road.

So how did you fare this week? What did you end up tossing?

On Friday’s, I share what food items that I have ‘wasted’ by letting spoil during the week from forgetfulness and/or neglect. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has inspired me to publicly post in hopes of reducing waste.

With summer slowly nearing its traditional end (hello, Labour Day anyone?) I find that this is the time where everything starts coming in like crazy from the garden.  I know we had jalapeno’s growing but not like this! Last year’s crop was nothing compared to this years – they’re coming outta our ears!

I’ve been looking for ways to ‘save’ them to be used in colder months and I thought about pureeing them and freezing but wasn’t too keen on that. A few other sites suggested drying them out and chopping them up as needed. That won’t work here as while trying to ‘dry them out’ they’d probably go moldy as its still pretty humid.

So, like everything else from our garden – its off to the freezer!  At least I’ll be able to use them when *I* want to and as much as I need at that time.  (vs you know, having to use up the whole thing because you’ve defrosted it all)

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One night’s quick harvest.

There’s probably 12 here.

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I dawned some rubber gloves and got to slicing.  I figured rounds were the quickest and easiest way to go.  I laid out the rounds on a lined cookie sheet – seeds & all – to be flash frozen before bagging.  1 hour in my deep freezer did the trick.  NOTE: be sure to have a box of baking soda in there as well as the smell will start to permeate everything in there thats already frozen.   Jalapeno smelling ice cubes anyone?

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Once frozen, label & bag them.  By flash freezing, this allows you to take out as many pieces you’d like to use as needed.

For some reason, this year’s crop is super spicy. The darling hubster, lover of all things spicy thought they’d be very mild like the kind you get from the grocery store.  He took a bite of a tip and cried out from his sudden & intense endorphin rush.  So, um yeah…if he’s dying after having a taste without seeds – imagine how potent these lil puppies will be WITH them!  I plan to do this with the rest as soon as they’re ready to be picked.

Ever since the hubster and I have been together, we’ve always talked about our love of baking with all of its up’s and down’s.  He’s baked professionally in his past whereas I’ve only dabbled in personal ventures.  All my baking has been limited to simple recipes without fancy tools and gadgets. I’ve always dreamed of having a mixer as almost every recipe out there calls for the use of one.

Over a year ago, we saw a super awesome deal on a Kitchen Aid Mixer and went to snap one up for ourselves so we could ‘bake together’.  When we went to buy it, there was a store ordering mix up and the store was offering the higher end professional series for the price of the lower model.  (Thank you Canadian Tire for screwing up!)  We got it home but have kept it in hiding because this was not a gadget we’d like dad to try to use get his hands on.  Selfish? Yes.  Smart move? Oh yes.

Something must’ve been in the air because the hubster decided to dig out the mixer and bake some homemade bread. I just about died when he said that too.


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Isn’t she purdy? 🙂

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Mixing the dough.

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Rising loaves.

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Hmm…wonder what’s in there?

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The ‘before’ shot.

See the rolls? The hubster showed me how to ‘properly’ make a roll. Man does that ever take some patience elbow grease!

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Brushing tops with butter to help keep it soft and enhance colour if you ask me.

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All the loaves have been buttered and are now cooling.
WAIT! Whats that up in the top right hand corner of the pic?
That would be the hubster trying to sneak a roll for ‘quality assurance’ 😉

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Looks super enticing no?
Even if there’s a roll clearly missing. 😉

The house smelled wonderful all night after we cleaned up from baking.  And yes, the mixer is back in its original box, in hiding from dad.

Do you have/use a mixer? Fave thing to make with it?

As I’m trying to keep up with with tomatoes as the garden keeps cranking them out – I thought I’d try my hand at making a tomato pie vs  saucing the tomatoes or eating them fresh. Not that I’m complaining or anything. Just looking for variety.

To start, I pre-baked the pie crust using the leftover dough from dad’s homemade chicken pot pie.  I only  needed  a bottom crust and thats exactly the amount of dough that was leftover. Score!! How’s that for no waste?

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I had to seed and dice tomatoes – enough to yield about 3 cups.

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Chop up a whole med/large onion

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Layer onions on the bottom, followed by the diced tomatoes and sprinkle of freshly chopped basil on top.  There was a mayo/cheese topping to be spread a top the tomato/basil layer as well.  Off to the oven it went.

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And this is what it looks like when its ready. The mayo/cheese topping should be golden brown and bubbly (approx 25-45mins). Let set for before cutting/serving so that the juices have a chance to reabsorb and redistribute.

I will admit that I was quite unsure of how the tomato pie would turn out and if I’d like it, let alone the hubster and dad.  The concept was very basic and I took liberties to season with what I had in my cupboards where I thought necessary and I’m glad that I did. I think it made it a tastier version compared to the original recipe.  I’ve already received a request to make it again! This is a great way to use up garden fresh tomatoes if you’re ever in a pinch. Pretty quick and easy.

Have you ever tried or made your own version of tomato pie? How did it turn out?

FoodWasteFriday

Booo! Literally 24 hours after I posted that I had no food wasted last week, I found my store bought cilantro drooped and slimy. You see, I saw this post over at Go Gingham about how to make your herbs last and thought I’d give it whirl. So far, the first whirl didn’t seem to work. I plan on trying it again but instead, placing the vase/glass in the fridge to see if it will last longer then 36 hours. I’m leery b/c a glass is likely to be toppled in the fridge as dad roots around looking for things so maybe I’ll use a tall food storage container instead? What do you think? There’s no pic b/c I don’t think anyone wants needs to see rotting mush & slimy cilantro.

BTW: I’m not saying that this trick won’t work for others, it just didn’t seem to want to work for me.

Onto this week’s waste. 😦

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Tossed: handful of grapes. You can see why (mold)

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Tossed: 1.5c of spaghetti meat sauce

Apparently taking dad’s word for 3 weeks straight didn’t sit well with me and when I opened it, I found blobs of mold starting to unite. Glad I didn’t wait another week b/c imagine opening up that hot mess in full mold mode?! Blech!

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Tossed: 1 lonely clementine

It was hidden underneath the freshly purchased fruit. Apparently dad just tosses everything (new) in on top while I put the older stuff on top to help it get eaten up first.

So how did you fare this week? What did you end up tossing?

On Friday’s, I share what food items that I have ‘wasted’ by letting spoil during the week from forgetfulness and/or neglect. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has inspired me to publicly post in hopes of reducing waste.

This post inspired by dad who decided – out of the blue – to make a ‘from scratch’ homemade chicken pot pie for dinner.    Dad used to own a restaurant so the recipe is all in his head.  Not bad for an 81 yr old huh? 😀

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He made the filling. Luscious and creamy chicken filling. Yum!
I could eat this on its own, no pie crust needed.

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The pie crust was made (sorry, didn’t catch pics of that process) and filling spooned in.   Note that he’s packing it all in. LOVE overstuffed pie filling.

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Egg washing the crust before adding the top crust.

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Patting the top crust on to ‘secure’ it to the pie.
(sorry the pic was blurry – he was constantly spinning it around – he’s quick!)

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Trimming the top crust.
(Again, another action shot as he spun & trimmed super quick)

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Egg washing the top to ensure the crust gets a nice golden colour.

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If only I could attach a smell with this pic. Heaven!
See how well the egg wash worked?

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Look at the filling oozing out.
Trust me, it was just as tasty as leftovers the day after.

Have you made your own homemade pot pie? How did it turn out?

Last week seemed to be pretty hectic in terms of errands and appointments.  Quite a few times dad and I happened to be out and about around key meal times.  We’re both diabetics and its key for us to eat meals around the same times daily.   We could’ve packed a snack and waited until we got back home to eat (which we did a few times)  but decided to go the easy route as the week carried on.

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One very early morning, dad and I had to do our fasting blood test and we were unbelievably starved so we just headed out to a restaurant.   We ended up at Cora’s.   I chose their crepeomellete (bottom of pic) while dad had a more traditional breakfast of eggs, sausage, taters & toast. (top right)  I love how you get a serving (or two or three) of fresh fruit included depending on what you order.

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Later in the week, dad and I decided to have dim sum while in Chinatown picking up groceries.  Usually we order about 3-4 dishes but on this day, dad seemed to be overwhelmed with the ambiance and ordered a plethora of dishes.

This pic was taken just after round two of his ordering frenzy. I think we ended up with about 10 dishes total and yes there were leftovers coming home with us LOL.

Traditional dim sum includes an elderly lady pushing around a cart of freshly steamed/cooked dishes from the kitchen while calling shouting what she has to offer.  You could be the only table in the restaurant, they will still (usually) shout. At you.  While standing right next to you.   Most places now, in order to avoid waste, offer a listing of what is available for dim sum and you check off how many dishes you’d like then they bring it to your table as its ready. No “ambiance” if you will but a classier dining environment?

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I will admit that I do LOVE dim sum egg tarts. They’re not the same as the kind you can buy from a Chinese bakery. The crust is super flaky vs a pie shell type from the bakery.  And what baked treat doesn’t taste better right out of the oven?!  To die for!  Each time we do dim sum, I ALWAYS order egg tarts, sometimes two orders – one to eat there and one to take home.  One of the rare occasions that I’ll admit that I’m a piglet. 😀

FoodWasteFriday
Sorry this post is a day late BUT I do have great news! With great thanks to me being both lazy AND resourceful this week, I am proud to share that there was no food wasted this week!  Everything was eaten up and/or used up.  Having a a super busy schedule this week has helped plus we did a fair bit of eating out.  Thats still no food wasted here 🙂

So how did you fare this week? What did you end up tossing?

On Friday’s, I share what food items that I have ‘wasted’ by letting spoil during the week from forgetfulness and/or neglect. Kristen over at The Frugal Girl has inspired me to publicly post in hopes of reducing waste.

Almost forgot about these last few pics!

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Fuzzy gourds (Chinese)

They’re prickly too.

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Another fuzzy gourd – these grow to be pretty BIG.

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Bittermelon

We’ve only had one this year so far and this is it.  I hope there are more coming in and we can’t see them.

Another pic heavy post about my garden. I love tracking its progress. I’ve learned lots this year and hope to remember everything needed for next year. I feel like its almost nearing the end and its just the beginning of August but there’s been a plethora of zucchini, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes so far and I fear that once those are done, gone will be my garden.

And now, time for the pics 🙂

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Budding butternut squash

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Butternut squash

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Cucumber

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San Marzano tomatoes

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Beefsteak tomatoes

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Roma tomatoes

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Beefsteaks again

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More beefsteaks

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Soon to be eaten beefsteaks 😉

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Bell peppers

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Jalapenos
(I swear these are more spicy then the kind you buy at the grocery store)

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Know what these are?

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Eggplants!!

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Beautiful eggplants

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Budding eggplant

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Almost ready to be picked eggplants.
Oddly enough, I bought Chinese eggplant seedlings and these are starting to look like Italian eggplants. No worries though, our home is filled with equal opportunity eggplant enthusiasts. 😀

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This is the former lettuce bed. There were 8 plants to start. I cut one to see if it would grow back on its own but the stump just died. The other 7 I left to see what would happen but the taller they get, they seem to ‘milk’ when you harvest the leaves. And they’re staring to flower. Definitely done for the season. Not bad for a 3 – 4 month run right?

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The group shot – herbs, jalapenos, peppers & leaf lettuce area.
Psst, that’s purple basil down in front that’s trying to steal the show.

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The slowly dying Italian oregano (which I have yet to figure out how to use!) and basil in the left planter and my flowering cilantro on the right. Cilantro doesn’t seem to be in my cards this year 😦

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Lastly…after some googling, I have deemed this to be purple basil.
Its beautiful to look at but I guess I should taste it and perhaps start using it?

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