daily recap · what we ate

Day 49: Butterscotch Mace Oatmeal Cookies, Soup & Maryland Fried Chicken

For lunch we heated up the the leftover split pea soup and finished up the take-and-bake bread (which was quite good, I’ve been sleeping on this at Aldi). After lunch I made toasted oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips and my fave spice, mace. I posted the recipe here.

For dinner, we made what I think of as Grandpop fried chicken but is really Maryland style fried chicken. He used to make this all the time with thighs–his secret ingredient was a little bit of granulated bouillon in with the flour. We also had some bagged salad and baked potatoes. We have so many potatoes right now! Aldi didn’t have 5 lb bags of Russets so I ended up with a 10 lb bag in addition to my 5 lbs of Yukon Gold. Bagged salad always seems like a bit of a cop out but most salad ingredients aren’t in season right now and they cost about the same as making them myself if I buy them at Aldi. They are pretty cabbage/carrot heavy and actually keep a couple weeks in the fridge which is handy now.

Non-food related activities:

I finished the You’re Wrong About… episodes about the DC Snipers. I hadn’t listened to the podcast before and I think they did a pretty good job but I really didn’t learn much new except some real minutia of his wife’s life. I don’t think I will listen to the OJ ones I’ve heard a lot about, I know so much about that case I think I could teach a course.

We watched French mysteries on Mhz. I had no idea there were so many islands in France. One takes place in Martinique but there are a lot of island-based episodes that are in France proper. Who knew? They continue to be a bit hit or miss–I’m just picking ones that sound good but some of the plots seem exciting but then end up being a mess. Plus a lot of weird coworker dating/hooking up. Is that not frowned upon in the French police force?

what we ate

Day 48: A Trip to the Store, Pasta Salad & Split Pea Soup

We both went grocery shopping today! Our last trip was on 4/1/20 so it’s been nearly a full month! I went to Aldi where they are taking a lot of precautions. We had to line up outside and only go in when one person came out. They had someone there wiping down each cart. Everyone had to be wearing a mask and only one person per cart was allowed (unless the person was elderly or needed help). There was a Plexiglas divider between me and the clerk and only one person was allowed on the belt at a time. The only hitch was that they weren’t doing their usual trading cart routine (since you bag yourself) so I had to unload my whole massive cart before she should start swiping my food. It was a little precarious! They did have everything I wanted and seemed stocked pretty much as normal except for meat. We were limited to 2 of each kind and they were missing some of their usual basics like stew meat, leaner ground beef, pork loin, pork butt, chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless), and whole chicken. I ended up getting chicken breast tenders (not something we normally buy), thinly sliced beef, ground chicken, wild Alaskan salmon and ground lamb (this week’s special). I also got two frozen Cornish game hens and some frozen seafood. I didn’t go in hoping for anything specific in the meat department (I’ve been planning meals around what we have vs. shopping for particular recipes) so I was happy. It’s different than what we’ve been eating so that’s a nice change.

Matt went to Shoppers because they have a pharmacy and a healthy “International” aisle and got everything on the list (mostly bread products, condiments, mi goreng packets, vitamins) and some ingredients to make pupusas. Oddly neither of us had any luck getting hot dogs. Of all things! We have rolls, though!

I’m glad I did make tuna pasta salad yesterday because it was amazing to come home, unload the groceries, shower and have lunch ready to go. Matt worked all morning while I shopped, ate lunch early then shopped in the afternoon.

I had put all the veggies and ham in a reusable gallon bag last night so this morning I poured it in the slow cooker, added stock and spices and the dried split peas. I picked up a take and bake bread at Aldi to have with it. So easy yet so tasty! I posted the recipe here. It has a few more vegetables than the average split pea soup which I love. It’s perfect for quarantine too—ham always has amazing expiration dates, split peas are shelf stable and the veggies are all long lasting. The youngest vegetable was a month old!

Non-food related activities:

I listened to more of the “You’re Wrong About…” the DC Snipers while playing Animal Crossing. It’s interesting because I really followed the case at the time.

Honestly, I’m exhausted. Shopping went well but was stressful and unloading all those groceries takes forever.

daily recap · planning · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 47: Corned Beef Baked Frittata & Ravioli

Matt made a baked frittata with 4 eggs, leftover rice, leftover corned beef, garlic, onions, leftover shredded cheddar and frozen spinach for lunch. It took forever to bake but it was great! Frittatas are wonderful for using up leftover odds and ends and when stretched with a lot of other ingredients (like rice) don’t have to use that many eggs.

For dinner I sauteed some cubed ham, mushrooms, onions, garlic and kale and tossed it with from frozen truffle mushroom ravioli from Aldi. This is my favorite way of serving frozen/fresh store bought ravioli or tortellini. It’s easy, has vegetables and doesn’t require me to make a real sauce.

I made tuna and pasta salad for our lunch tomorrow and prepped ham, rutabaga, carrot, parsnip, and celery for slow cooker split pea soup tomorrow. All I will have to do is make some broth (using Better Than Bouillon) and get it going in the morning. Last time we went grocery shopping it was an exhausting day and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to come home and cook lunch or come up with dinner. I don’t love grocery shopping and we don’t have many grocery stores near us. Even though we live in the city, the closest store to us over a mile away and unfortunately, we have bought rotten meat, expired dairy, and spoiled seafood there before. I don’t want to deal with that at all if I can manage and I really don’t want to deal with it now. The next closest stores are about 10-20 minutes away so that plus the stress of shopping right now and the volume of buying for hopefully 3 weeks or more is so stressful! The last thing I want to do is worry about cooking tomorrow.

It has been 28 days since we last shopped so we are down to the bare bones in the fridge. We have a fair amount of frozen seafood and some chicken we froze earlier in the month in the freezer but it’s mostly condiments, cheese, a lone tub of hummus, eggs, carrots, zucchini, and celery in there. Like last time I am going to go to Aldi and then Matt is going to go to a “regular” supermarket to get the odds and ends we don’t get at Aldi-bread, International ingredients, anything from the pharmacy department (vitamins, mouthwash) we need and whatever Aldi didn’t have during my trip. And soda. I really am getting low on Coke and it’s making me antsy.

Nonfood related activities:

We are still watching some Meurtres √†… They are a little uneven because they are basically made for TV mysteries taking place in different French towns but some are really good! It’s on Mhz.

I finally was able to get the last variety of bushes for my island in New Horizons. I’m still listening to podcasts while doing it. I don’t have a lot of TV shows that I watch airing right now and there are few jobs to apply to right now.

We both talked to our mothers who are in good spirits. My mom got the Skip-Bo deck and notecards I sent her for an early Mother’s Day gift and was really excited.

daily recap · planning · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 46: Grilled Cheese with Corned Beef & Green Beans with Chicken and Rice

For lunch we made grilled cheese with leftover shredded sharp cheddar, marble rye, mustard and leftover corned beef. The ground corned beef was pretty crumbly so it mixed well with the cheese but wouldn’t have been great just sliced on a sandwich.

After lunch I made some Spiced Applesauce Corn Muffins using yogurt, applesauce and cornmeal that is/was all taking up a lot of room in my fridge and freezer. I posted the recipe here. Matt had one as a snack and said they were tasty! I froze some and left some out for him to have for breakfasts for the rest of the week.

For dinner we had some green beans to use up from last week’s produce box and some cooked chicken leftover from yesterday’s fritters. I don’t love green beans because they are a lot of work for something I find kind of blah but it made for a good dinner. Matt cooked them some chili oil/crisp, oyster sauce and sesame seeds for a sort of homemade takeout vibe.

I’m trying to plan for food to prep for tomorrow for Wednesday when we finally go the store. Last time I planned ahead and had soup I had made ready to heat up for lunch and we just had quesadillas with leftovers for dinner. Matt found shopping really stressful and it took a long time to both shop and unpack/organize everything. I’m leaning towards making tuna pasta salad for lunch and split pea soup in the slow cooker (prepping both tomorrow) since I have some boneless “carving” ham in the fridge. We are really scraping the bottom of what we have in the fridge now. It’s been almost a month since we shopped last and we haven’t had much delivered besides oil, a few produce boxes, flour, bread and yeast. We have a good amount of frozen fish but that all takes more effort and energy than I think I will have on Wednesday and doesn’t really yield leftovers if I were to have it tomorrow.

Tomorrow I think I might make some frozen ravioli because we have a bag taking up a lot of room in the freezer and I can dress it up with whatever vegetables arrive in our produce box tomorrow.

I found out we won second place in the challenge! Not too shabby. I can’t imagine first place made food that was any tastier than ours though!

Non-food related activities:

We watched the ever delightful Muppet’s Treasure Island on Disney+ and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist on Hulu. I keep feeling like we should play a game or be more abitious in the evenings but I don’t have the energy.

I started listening to podcasts while playing Animal Crossing which turned out to be an excellent idea. I normally would only listen when washing the dishes or driving alone but since we are here 24/7 that hasn’t been happening.

daily recap · what we ate

Day 45: “Chopped Challenge” Fritters & Corned Beef

I submitted our entry for the “Chopped” Quarantine Cooking Challenge a local restaurant was hosting. We paid $50 for box of ingredients and an entry.

Main course:

Pan-fried soft shell crab and shrimp with smashed red skin potatoes, paprika roasted carrots, and a creamy Old Bay corn, tomato, cheese sauce

(using crab, shrimp, baby potatoes, carrot, corn, cheese, cream, butter, onion, and tomato)

Small plate:

Lemon-pepper corn and chicken fritters

(using egg, chicken, onion, corn, cheese, cream)


Watermelon Syllabub with a Sharkberry Kool-Aid sugar rim and fresh kumquat garnish

(using watermelon, wine, cream, Kool-aid, kumquat)

It was fun. The only thing we added was spices, sugar and a small amount of flour. I had never made syllabub before but it was delicious and very easy! I just tossed in a hunk of watermelon, a tiny bit of confectioners sugar, wine and cream and whipped it all together.

I made the main dish and dessert yesterday for lunch then we had the fritters today for lunch. We have a few fritters leftover and some of the cooked wine-marinated chicken.

For dinner I made a corned beef in the slow cooker (pretty much the last thing in the fridge! I bought it in early March, expiration date 5/15), roasted Brussels sprouts and wild rice pilaf. It was supposed to be potatoes but they had gone green and were full of eyes. I think the porch was a little damp this weekend.

Non-food related activities:

Not a ton! I read. We watched some French mystery series on MHz. Each one takes place in a different town in France. One took place in Lille and there were a lot of scenes in places we had visited when we were there.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 44: Soft Crabs & Syllabub

Today we worked on our entry for the Blue Hill Tavern contest. We made a lunch of corn, crab, shrimp, potatoes and carrots and I made a syllabub for dessert. We prepped one last dish–an appetizer–but we are going to make it tomorrow. The submission is due on Monday.

For dinner we had leftover tuna salad turned tuna pasta salad, tortilla chips with salsa, a snack of some odd (but not bad) Kung Pao chicken mini eggrolls from Aldi I bought a very long time ago.

I’m trying to clear the top fridge freezer out as much as possible before the big shop this week. We have so many odds and ends in there (bacon, flours from the local grist mill, bread crumbs, leftovers we froze in single portions for Matt’s lunches etc) that it is almost dangerous to open the door. We have a small upright freezer in the basement that is normally more than enough but it’s a little small for when we are really stocking up. Bags of things like frozen fish are so bulky and this is basically the size of a dorm fridge. I don’t think a larger one would be better in the long run though, sometimes it’s nearly empty during regular times. Who knows though? Maybe we will end up wanting to have more things on hand in the freezer than we normally do? I found we frequently forgot what was in there and didn’t eat it so I had stopped stocking up so much. We don’t spend a lot of time in the basement so we’d just never go in it. Even keeping a list of the contents didn’t help much.

Non-food activities:

Cooking really took up much of the day. I read some of my book and we caught up on Katy Keene which is still one of the oddest shows on the CW, possibly ever.

daily recap · planning · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Day 43: Hard-boiled Eggs, Tuna Salad & Chili

Another oddly chilly day for late April. Our backyard is basically flooded from the rain. I’m not eager to get to super hot weather but a few warmish sunny days to lounge in the hammock would be nice!

For lunch I made tuna salad (2 3.5 oz cans tuna, mayo, dill relish, dash Goddess dressing, lemon pepper) on white bread (me) or pumpernickel swirl (Matt) with bibb lettuce from the produce box. I made double what we need and refrigerated the rest.

I had a snack of a hard-boiled egg dipped in “everything bagel” seasoning. I got the idea from these pre-packed eggs with dry dip I tried at the Natural Products Expo. It’s really good!

We heated up the leftover chili and I had it over some baked potatoes to use them up and Matt had it over pasta. He made extra pasta so I stirred it into the leftover tuna to stretch that out.

We are out of Utz chips and our favorite pretzels. I’m very close to ordering a case of pretzels from the factory. It seems a little nuts but if they had good expiration dates it might be worth it. We eat about a bag a month and had planned to pick up more at the pretzel museum when it got warmer but that’s of course closed now. We had bought 6 bags back in November and finished them up yesterday.

We had a little ice cream with my favorite caramel sauce and we are almost out of both. I think we will be able to get more ice cream but I get the caramel sauce from this tiny supermarket further in the city and I can’t imagine getting there anytime soon.

Matt picked up our box from Blue Hill Tavern for the contest. I’m a little disappointed. The soft crabs were supposed to be local “whales” but the owner said couldn’t get them (understandable) so we have some frozen tiny crabs from somewhere else and a few shrimp. No mirepoix, just a tiny bit of mystery grated cheese, and about half the amount of potatoes I was expecting, 1 onion, 1 carrot, a tiny Roma tomato, 2 ears of corn, cream, butter, 4 eggs, a packet of Kool-aid, 2 kumquats, a slice of watermelon, and a bottle of wine. The last two week’s boxes look a ton better than what we ended up about. We’ll use it of course, but I wish we were told that the crabs weren’t available and we could have just gotten something else or tried another week. I was excited at the idea of an activity for the weekend (and very very excited for soft crabs!!) but now it’s shaping up to be more of a chore. I had some fun ideas but they really won’t work with tiny crabs, a tiny amount of shrimp and 4 baby potatoes. We can use our own oil/spices/garnish for the contest but there isn’t a lot to work with. I’m sorry we spent the money now. It is nice to help out a local business which was part of my goal so I’m trying to focus on that.

Non-food related activities:

I read some of an ARC of the upcoming Lisa Jewell novel. I’ve been reading her books for like 20 years now! OY! They are so uneven but they are normally pretty entertaining.

We watched the Hedwig episode of Riverdale. I think it was their best musical episode yet! Heathers was by far the worse.

daily recap · what we ate

Day 42: Shrimp with Orzo, Soup & Popcorn

Today for lunch we both had canned soup. Matt had some Campbell’s Thai chicken soup which is actually rather spicy and I had a clam corn chowder. I always doctor canned soups up but they really aren’t bad. I also had popcorn. I wanted to save the chili leftovers for tomorrow since we have to pick up the box of food from Blue Hill Tavern tomorrow night for the contest.

For dinner, I sauteed some lacinato kale, spring onions, defrosted shrimp and mushrooms then tossed in some orzo, lemon juice/zest, and red pepper flakes. It was really light and fresh tasting (sorry about the dim picture, it was really was tasty and appetizing in person.

It’s been over three weeks since we grocery shopped and I’m trying to make it to Wednesday without having to defrost too much from the freezer since I don’t really know what will be in stock when we go. I don’t want to eat a lot of chicken now and then get to the store and that’s all they have. I’ve heard there may be some disruptions to supply but not exactly when or where. I have a fair amount of shrimp so I thought that would be good, we have chili leftover for tomorrow and the mystery box for Saturday so that just leaves Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to worry about.

We tossed the chicken bones we had frozen a few weeks ago. It was taking up a lot of room our tiny freezer and making it difficult to freeze anything else due to it’s odd shape I had thought we’d have more things to add to it to make stock but we really haven’t and I have had to freeze other bone in chicken I had planned to eat and add to it because of expiration dates.

Non-food related activities:

We finished Poldark season 4. I’m glad Morwenna finally got married to the man she liked!

We watched Blinded by the Light which was very cute despite me not knowing anything about Bruce Springsteen. I wish we could go to a “daytimers” bhangra concert! At the end they showed pictures of the man who it was based on and it turned out he wrote a memoir. Somehow the county library had it for the Kindle so I checked it out. It was really a cute story.

It’s Nature Day in Animal Crossing and I was able to get all but one of the varieties of shrubs. Yay! Anyone have any ¬†camellia?

daily recap · planning · recipe · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Fish Stick Sandwiches, Salad & Chili (day 41 recap)

Another chilly day! At least it was sunny for most of it. Our beach plums (above) are really blooming! Last year was our best yield so far (after planting the bushes several years ago) but we didn’t really take advantage of it because my mom was nearly diagnosed with her brain cancer. I just didn’t have the capacity to worry about it. The plums are very small (like cherry-sized) and require a lot of prep. Hopefully, we will get a good yield this year too and we certainly will be home for it.

For lunch, we finished off the box of fish sticks we opened a couple of weeks ago in sandwiches with tartar sauce and a sprinkle of Old Bay. I was really pleased with them! I hope Aldi has them again, they were wild, sustainably caught, and quite tasty. I also made a salad with lettuce from our produce box (please let us not get so much lettuce again for a long time), leftover beets and potatoes from making the mimosa salad, cucumber, red onion, the last of the feta crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic. It was okay but I am not eager to eat a cold boiled potato in a green salad again anytime soon.

Dinner was a super basic chili I made in the slow cooker: 2 cans kidney beans, 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles, lots of spices, 1 1/4 lb cubed sirloin, onion, and garlic. We had it with leftover cheese from making quesadillas, red onion, sour cream, and tortilla chips. It was pretty tasty! I wish we had fresh peppers but the canned tomatoes with chiles are pretty good.

We also had some ice I bought early in March thinking we might want a treat we didn’t make ourselves in April. Good thinking, past Rachel

A local restaurant has been doing a “Chopped” style challenge where you can get a box of seafood, meat, wine, vegetables, eggs, butter, cream, fruit, etc for $50 to make a meal with. You post what you create and you can win a gift card to the restaurant. Normally I don’t know if I’d do that but $50 seemed fair for all that food and drink and this week one of the ingredients is soft crabs!! My absolute favorite. We have to pick up the box Friday and make it by Monday afternoon. At the very least it will be a fun activity. I am a little nervous about the pickup but I think it will be okay. We need to go to the store next week anyway.

Non-food related activities:

We finished Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. So many frustrating people. We also are finishing up Poldark season 4 on Prime, we had watched it live back when it aired but went on vacation We never saw the last three episodes because we missed one on the PBS app and PBS is pretty ruthless about episodes only being available for 10 days or so. I noticed we have season 5 on DVD coming up on our Netflix DVD queue (people laugh that we still get DVDs but they are great now! So many movies and shows aren’t available for streaming and we have so much time) so I thought we should catch up in case they are sent out soon. We only have like 40 discs in our queue and new stuff (last season of Mr Robot, please!) gets jumped over and we end up with some movie from 1983 I only vaguely know why we wanted to watch it. At least we know we like Poldark! I sort of prefer binge watching it anyway because it’s easier to keep everyone straight; they have a habit of picking up some very old storyline suddenly and all those white men in topcoats look alike to me.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Carnitas Hash & Mimosa Salad (day 40 recap)

Day 40! Wow! It was a strange, windy, rainy day today but I did get out into the yard a bit. Above is a picture of our pawpaw (a native fruit) tree flowering. The flowers are dark purple and pollinated by flies and beetles. Last year we had a big pawpaw harvest and I’m hoping for a bunch this year too.

For lunch I made hash similar to this one using leftover carnitas from Friday’s nachos, russet potatoes and yellow squash instead of spinach. It was really satisfying!

For dinner we had leftover mimosa salad on crackers and I had a can of minestrone soup (my secret is to put a couple of chunks of sharp cheddar in it–try it! it’s oddly good) and Matt had some noodles and cottage cheese. I had a leftover waffle for a snack and Matt had some Jell-O.

It was a relief not to have to make too many things from scratch after some labor intensive cooking the last few days. Tomorrow I’m planning to take it easy too. It’s important to pace yourself. I don’t want to completely burn myself out and then not want to make anything!

Non-food related activities/thoughts:

We tried grocery delivery from Weis today. I had looked into seeing if they had curbside pick up for next week when we plan to grocery shop again and it was completely booked. They are the only store that sells the hot dogs we like and they also sell a bunch of other random items we don’t like to buy at Aldi like bread, cottage cheese, Cabot cheese, and some more varieties of pasta. They didn’t have any pick up slots for a long time but they had a delivery slot for today and I thought it was worth a try. I don’t know if I’d try again. They didn’t have the hot dogs (the sole reason we picked Weis over any other store), and about half of the other things I wanted. Oddly they did have bread flour which I heard was hard to find. We did end up with saltines, extra large eggs instead of large, rye swirl bread, white bread, saltines, orzo, butter, and mayo which was good. And hot dog rolls but no hot dogs. I guess I should have made a note not to get the rolls if they were out of hot dogs?

My thought had been it might eliminate the need for Matt to go to a second store when I go to Aldi next week but I don’t think that will be the case. At least we have some more bread, we were getting low and really starting to ration it out. I don’t find we eat that much bread and homemade bread gets stale so quickly, I haven’t wanted to go down that route. The delivery was prompt and the delivery person was nice and left it on our steps after telling me which bags had perishables through our jalousie door. It reaffirmed that I think we’d rather do in person shopping than get delivery. I already feel weird about paying people to do put themselves in risk when I/we am/are able bodied anyway. I like being able to see what looks good and make in-person decisions. For example I didn’t put down that subs were okay for the cottage cheese because I didn’t know what they would have and while pepper or chive would have been okay, some fruit flavor would not so now we don’t have any.

We watched Britt-Marie Was Here, which was cute. We also watched some of the Mallorca Files on Britbox. The show is cute and the leads have good (platonic IMO) chemistry but I swear I don’t remember any detail of the mystery 5 seconds after it airs. They just aren’t very memorable cases like the ones in Death In Paradise or Vera or Midsumer Murders.