daily recap · what we ate

Mimosa Salad & Steak (day 39 recap)

For lunch today I made Russian Mimosa salad. It was a suggestion made by friend Olga to use up some canned smoked sprats I “found” when putting away groceries. I gave it my own twist by using some slightly different ingredients (I posted my recipe here) and it was really good. A bit time consuming but not difficult. It would be fun to make for some sort of dinner party.

Matt made dinner–top sirloin steak, sauteed zucchini and wild rice pilaf. I’m not sure if we’ve made top sirloin before. It was lean but tender and very quick cooking. I’ll have to keep it in mind, I bought it at Aldi but I’m not sure if it was a regular item or an older special. I know it wasn’t a special deal the week I was there. I’m hoping to go back next Wednesday–a full month since either of us has really left the house or got groceries.

Non-food related activities:

I downloaded a ton of new books to read. I’m finishing up an ARC of White Ivy by Susie Yang but it’s great to have a bunch of new books to look forward too–some are the newest books by authors I’ve read for years.

We finished watching the Howard’s End mini-series. I’ve never read the book but the miniseries was almost satirical. I thought it was supposed to be more a critique of British life at that time? The Henry Wilcox character was horrible beginning to end. The acting was good but it was rather frustrating to like with very few likable characters.

We talked to all of our respective parents and they are doing well, thankfully!

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Pasta, Soup & Liège Waffles (day 38 recap)

For lunch, I heated up the leftover sardine pasta from Friday, added 3 oz of tuna (from a pouch, the non-drain kind), some more olives and about 3 oz of crumbed feta in a skillet. It was really good. Cold pasta without a real sauce heats up surprisingly well.

For dinner we had the last of the beef and barley soup. There wasn’t a huge amount left but that’s okay because I made Liège waffles as a snack! I’ve been wanting to make them since we went to Belgium about 10 years ago. They always seemed like a pain and while they do need special sugar and they are made with yeast, they were surprisingly easy to make. I posted my recipe here.

Non-food related activities:

Continued organizing the Tupperware/prop cabinet.

Matt Skyped with a friend from college and they played the ukulele together.

I spent most of the day reading French articles about waffles.

what we ate

Barley Soup & Pierogi (day 37 recap)

We had a bowl of leftover beef/mushroom/veggie/barley soup for lunch. It was so good! It thickened up a bit in fridge so we thinned it out when we heated it up. It’s still so chilly here, it was good soup weather.

For dinner we had some Mrs T’s pierogi we sautéd with bacon, Swiss chard and onions. Matt didn’t realize they were mini ones when we bought the box but they were fun. More like the size of homemade.

Non-food related activities:

We finished season 2 of Babylon Berlin. What a whirlwind! It is a great show but not exactly relaxing.

We have a huge cabinet in the dining room that is full of Tupperware, props for my recipe blog and serving pieces that has been chaotic for way too long. Today we sorted through it and put the lesser used items in a big tote to store in the basement. I hate doing it because I feel like we will forget about them but we don’t really have room. I don’t want to throw them away because they are fine and actual Tupperware brand so well-made and has a lifetime warrantee.

I think cleaning up the space will let us use what we do have in there more often though without fear of causing an avalanche when we open the door.

We still have a bunch to put away but it’s late and I have this bump from a bad bruise last month that starts to hurt if I’m on my feet more than a couple of hours.

daily recap · what we ate

Smoked Sardine w/Dandelion Greens Spaghetti & Nachos (day 36 recap)

For lunch I whipped up a quick sardine, dandelion greens, olive and tomato pasta. The greens from my produce box were looking a little wilted and I knew they didn’t fit into my dinner or Saturday plans so why not use them up? The recipe (I posted it here) is a great way to pair up pantry ingredients (spices, olives, spaghetti, sardines) and a few fresh ingredients (garlic, onion, greens, tomato) to make a really fresh tasting dish without relying too heavily on fresh ingredients which can be tricky to source right now. I used dandelion greens but any greens like rapini, kale, chard or turnip would work.

For dinner I made sheet pan nachos using some leftover refried beans, salsa, “carnitas” pre-marinated pork roast (from Aldi, I cooked it in the slow cooker for 6 hrs), “Mexican blend” cheese (from Aldi) and red onions. It was really good! They stay nice and crispy with this method.

Non-food related activities:

I’ve been listening to the Gee Thanks, Just Bought It podcast while playing Animal Crossing and it’s weird listening to people talking about going out and worrying about blowing their hair out for “wedding season” and organizing their purses. I also had an opinion about the first guest and I felt like her episode really solidified that for me. Oy!

I drove my car around this morning and there was a fair amount of traffic! It was right at 9 am so I hope they were going to work. It’s been 16 days since we shopped and I thought it would be good idea to recharge the battery a bit. I don’t want to end up trying to go to the store again and realize that the battery is dead. The pink cherry trees in the median were all blooming and that was great to see! I really miss seeing everything blooming outside of my own yard.

Bosch is back!

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Zucchini Muffins, Leftovers & Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup (day 35 recap, 4/16/20)

For lunch, I sauteed a small bunch of collards with the chicken sambal oelek leftovers and tossed it with some mi goreng again. The collards were from last week’s produce box and while tasty, the bunch was tiny and not really enough to do much with. It was a perfect way to bulk up lunch a bit and add some veggies.

Matt loves zucchini muffins and has been enjoying having muffins for breakfast (and it cuts down on the bread he’s toasting) so I made a batch. I posted the recipe here.

I got up earlyish and put up some beef, mushroom and barley soup up in the slow cooker. It takes longer than some slow cooker soups because you want the barley really well cooked and soft. It was so good! It was only in the 40s today so a cozy bowl of soup was perfect. I posted the recipe here. It uses a lot of long-last root vegetables!

Non-food related activities:

We watched Dans la maison. Not my favorite François Ozon movie. I kept hoping for a musical number, it was almost there in one scene.

We were talking about what it is going to be like when things get back to “normal”. I’m honestly not convinced it will sooner than about 12-18 months. I’m hoping things will open up at least enough that I can go see my mom. I know she really misses me and June will be the one year anniversary of diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and while right now there is no sign of tumor growth (or any existing tumor) but that isn’t going to last.

I’d also really like some good chocolate and baked goods I don’t have to make myself.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Mi Goreng w/Sambal Oelek Chicken & Pork Loin w/Leftover Gratin (day 34 recap, 4/15/20)

Today for lunch I made a packet of mi goreng and tossed it with some leftover sambal oelek chicken and topped it with a fried eggs. For dinner we had a marinated pork loin, Matt had rice because he didn’t feel great and I had the little bit of the cauliflower-potato gratin we made on Sunday . I don’t like having recipes past 3 days so I was glad to finish it off!

Tomorrow I’m planning on making the soup I was going to make today. We don’t have room in the fridge for the mushrooms thanks to the huge amount of bulky lettuce and greens we have the fridge so I’ve left the mushrooms on our (locked) enclosed porch for the last couple days. It’s not insulated and cooler than leaving them in the house. Hopefully they will be fine tomorrow. I paid extra for them and they look great so I’d hate for them to go to waste.

It’s been a full two weeks since we went grocery shopping (20 days after the last grocery shop before that) and I’m hoping to make it a couple more. I tried to buy for the month when I went and the produce delivery has been helping to vary the meals a bit.

Non-food related activities:

More Animal Crossing, of course! I listened to the Family Ghosts podcast while I played.

We watched Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. I feel like everyone is less likeable than they were in the book.

I downloaded a bunch of library books and some ARCs today so I want to get some reading done. I’ve only read 8 books so far this month. I haven’t had too many books this month that I really liked. I read half of about 3 more books and then gave up.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Sambal Oelek Chicken Lettuce Wraps & Sandwiches (day 33 recap, 4/14/20)

For lunch we had ham sandwiches with the ham leftover from Sunday. I was hoping to stretch it out for another lunch but I’m not sure there is enough left. It was a really small ham and one of us used a ton of ham on their sandwich today. Tomorrow I’m hoping to make soup with the contents of some of our produce delivery today so I don’t really want to have canned soup for tomorrow’s lunch and I’m not sure if today’s dinner will yield much in the way of leftovers. Blah.

Our produce delivery had the biggest bunch of dandelion greens I have ever seen. The last batch we had was about 1/4 of this. It also contained three kinds of lettuce which is understandable because it is spring and we get the “local only” box but I really don’t have much in the way of salad ingredients right now. Time to get creative! I added some mushrooms to my order and they look amazing!

I ended up making some sambal oelek chicken lettuce wraps with the lettuce. I tossed in some radish greens and spring onion too. It was really good and flavorful! I posted the recipe.

Non-food related activities/thoughts:

I applied a Ultra Violet Brightening Purple Clay Mask by Generation Clay then of course, Lulu had to get to barking in the yard and I had to go out to get her. Why does she time that to exactly the moment when I look like a purple-faced alien? In her defense, our neighborhood was crazy loud today. Construction noise, people yelling at each other, people gardening, kids shrieking. It isn’t very nice weather so I’m not sure why everyone was out and about.

We got a delivery of carbon monoxide detectors, muffin liners and more of these reusable freezer bags. I bought a set last month and we have used them a ton! They are surprisingly easy to wash. I hate ordering these sorts of things online in general but we are trying to stick to just going to the store as little as possible, we’ve only shopped once in 33 days, and I’d rather avoid going to non-grocery stores if we can.

I had a good talk with a friend about a new project she’s thinking about so that was fun! There is another world out there!

The days can be pretty slow around here, not many people are hiring recipe developers so even applying to jobs isn’t taking up much time much less doing the actual work. I wish there had been more interested in my tinned seafood book we were pitching last year; traffic to my sardine and tuna recipes is really up the last month over on Coconut & Lime.

We watched the new Little Women and it was very good! We’ve seen them all and Matt said he liked this one best. I thought it had the most sympathetic Amy and the least maudlin Beth death of them all.

daily recap · what we ate

Ahi Tuna with Sautéed Radish and Zucchini & Assorted Leftovers (recap day 32, 4/13/20)

Today we had some awful storms. Luckily we didn’t lose power but our yard is under many inches of water. A reminder that nature keeps going on despite everything else grinding to a halt.

For lunch we split the leftover empanadas and the tiny bit of turkey salad leftovers on some saltines.

For dinner, I defrosted some Ahi tuna steaks I had bought at Aldi and sautéed them up with some lemon pepper, radishes, red onions, and zucchini. The zucchini was looking a little worse for wear and the radishes were getting soft and it was an easy way to use them up. If you haven’t had a cooked radish, it’s worth trying! They stay peppery but have a softer texture. We also had some of the potato-cauliflower gratin on the side.

We haven’t been using our freezer stash because we’ve been eating meat as they expire but we have a bit of a lull. I have some ground chicken I need to use up but what I have planned involves tomorrow’s produce delivery. It was a treat to have seafood instead! The trick is not to overcook the tuna and leave it a bit rare inside. It defrosts very quickly in cold water so it doesn’t require much planning. I’ve even cooked it directly from frozen.

Non-food related activities:

We watched the next episode of Deadwater Fell and the season finale of Murdoch Mysteries on Acorn.

daily recap · repurposing leftovers · what we ate

Ham, Potato-Cauliflower Gratin & Cookies (day 31 recap, Easter, 4/12/20)

Today is the first Easter I haven’t had some Rheb’s Easter candy or an Easter basket. My mom said its the first time she hasn’t made a basket since 1980! We have only left the house once in over a month and we were really focusing on essentials then. We did make cookies last night so that was nice to have.

For lunch I had a turkey salad (turkey, lemon pepper, mayo, celery, red onion) sandwich on rye and Matt ate the leftover empanada filling on rice.

I had bought a tiny spiral sliced ham back on March 12th that had an expiration date of 5/11 so we made that for dinner along with a mashed cauliflower-potato gratin (made with cauliflower I bought on that same shopping trip!) for something a little festive. We normally celebrate Passover too but I don’t have a whole chicken to make matzoh ball soup and we couldn’t find matzoh.

For dessert we had a couple of cookies and a handful of Cadbury mini eggs.

Non-cooking related activities:

I realized while browsing for available now books from the library for my Kindle, I never actually read any of the Gossip Girl books the show was based on so I read the first one. It had a really odd tone.

Matt did some tai chi along with a video his instructor sent out via email.

So much dish washing and laundry. I don’t miss the actual takeout food we normally would get but I do miss not having to cook for every single meal and snack.

Watched more Babylon Berlin. Of course they killed off the nicest character!

I’m trying to avoid placing online orders but our smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector suddenly went up so that seemed like a valid reason. I also ordered some more of these reusable Ziploc type bags. We are making and freezing and refrigerating so much food we really need them.

daily recap · what we ate

Empanadas, Cookies & Hot Dogs (recap day 30, 4/11/20)

For lunch we had leftover hot dogs, chips and dip. I’m enjoying these old school meals.

For dinner Matt made paprika home fries with baby chard from our produce delivery and these chicken empanadas with olives and hard-boiled eggs. They were so good! We used frozen empanada wrappers so they were really quick to make. Normally we’d make our own dough but we weren’t sure what the flour situation at the time so he bought frozen. It was a great use of them and used a lot of ingredients we always have on hand and ground chicken, which can be a little bland but was really perked up by the spices and olives. I posted the recipe here.

Matt made some cookies using this recipe but using half salted caramel chips and half mini semi sweet chocolate chips and eliminating the sea salt sprinkle. I have a tendency to pick up fun baking chips but not always having them earmarked for something specific so they just accumulate. The mini chips were leftover from making black bottom cupcakes.

Non-food related activities:

We watched a lot of Babylon Berlin on Netflix. I do not feel like I am learning any useful German from watching it. It is so well-made! Not the most relaxing television to watch right now though.

The rest of the day is sort of a blur.