Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mashed and Strudeled

I cheated in order to accomplish my food challenge...I gave a lot of food away.  That's the benefit of having a three-year-old nephew who can't get enough fruits and vegetables and a Thanksgiving with parents who agree that apples make great dessert.  The results:

Yummy Mashed Potatoes
Earlier this week I used up some lettuce, apples and a couple of the oranges in a fancy salad (fancy for someone who normallly thinks tearing a leaf of lettuce requires too much time spent in the kitchen):

Still to go in the challenge: two pears, celery, lettuce, potatoes and a few apples.  I foresee another gourmet salad in my post-Thanksgiving future. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bountiful Challenges

About once a month I sign up for The Food Co-op for the Commitment-Averse, also known as Bountiful Baskets.  Unlike many food co-ops there's no up-front investment required for this - if I want a food basket, I sign up at the beginning of the week and go pick it up that weekend.  I'll get to the great value part soon but let's face it, the most important thing is that it's an adventure.  This isn't a deliberative stroll through the produce aisle; it's the grown-up equivalent of a goody bag that's sealed until you get it home.  Most of the time the fruits and vegetables are recognizable but I like it best when I get something like kale or an unusually-colored melon and I have to turn to Pinterest to find out what it is and what to do with it. 

And speaking of creative, the pick-up area closest to my house is at Midwives Rising.  Seriously.  I hoped for dramatic street art and suffragette-style mottos but no such luck - it's a quiet, respectable and respectful medical office in a lovely historic home. 

Now about the great value: I save money.  It's $15 for two laundry baskets full of food - can't beat it.

The problem: I never, ever eat it all.  Even though I get a basket only once a month, I just never make myself eat at home enough to use all the food before it goes bad.  So that's where you come in - guilt!  I'm hoping that by confessing my wasteful, absentminded tendendencies I will be more focused on eating at home and using the food in clever and/or creative ways.

This week's contestants:

Tomatoes, potatoes, celery, apples, oranges, bananas, melon, carrots, pears, pineapple, celery and lettuce.

I should be able to do something with all of this.  Updates to come!

Friday, November 9, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

For some, it's twinkling red and green lights and Christmas music filling shopping malls.  For others, it's the thrill and adventure of Spring Break.  For me, the most wonderful time of the year is when the Phoenix heat slowly (far too slowly!) dissolves into cool mornings and crisp autumn days that bribe people back onto restaurant patios.  We don't get the autumn beauty that I envy - saguaros don't seem to understand the concept of seasons - but it is definitely, without a doubt, fall here.
Not that I've had time to enjoy it.  As you may have noticed if you care enough to check the posting dates on my blog, I haven't written in awhile.  And unfortunately, that's not because I've been working on big house projects that I'm ready to share with's just because I've been overwhelmingly busy and can't find time to do the laundry, much less jump into big home improvement tasks.  There have been small helped me fix the front door that wouldn't open and the door handle that had decided it never wanted to lock again, there's a great new decorative addition to the kitchen (photos to come), and most of all, there are flowers and pumpkins on my front patio (cheers for post-Halloween sales last year!  I got all these beauties at least 75% off) and a fall wreath on my front door. 

I've been learning to invite friends to visit even though the house has a long way to go - for some reason, there are no rooms that are actually completely finished and everything seems to be a work in progress.  On Halloween we gathered in my front yard to hand out candy to the 250+ kids who wandered by - my favorite (of course!) was this adorable train who was almost as interested in the thrill of ringing the doorbell as he was in digging through the candy.  Almost.

Now that it's nice outside it's time to find time to tackle big things like organizing the garage (how does it get that chaotic in such a short time?!), completing that patio makeover and painting the wall that separates my yard from the sidewalk.  But for now I'll just enjoy times together that make a house a home (cheesy but true) and the fact that it's November and I've managed to keep those geraniums alive for over a month now.