User avatar
Cola82
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:05 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

Oh I use them! I just often photo copy pages or enter recipes into my recipe app and use my boyfriend's iPad. We have several grease stained recipes tacked up on our fridge next to the stove. Some, like this one, have been up there for over a year.

I just feel like I need to use them in a more systematic way. I go through and put little flag post-its in the pages but then in the course of daily life I don't remember which recipes I want to try in a given week. It's the planning that's hard. The physical book just makes it harder, because you have twenty of them and you can't hold all of those recipes and ingredients in your head. I heard someone saying that she plans a weeks worth of meals on a Sunday, but my boyfriend works late sometimes, or we're both too tired to clean the kitchen to cook, or we want something else, or there's too many leftovers, and suddenly we have a bag of mushrooms shriveling up in our fridge. I've made ratatouille (from Plenty), pasta with butternut squash (mine! My butternut squash I grew! :D), and pesto pasta (with pesto I made and froze), this week and the boyfriend made banana bread tonight but often it's Thai takeout or a pot of rice with crushed peanuts and Sriracha. It is something I'm trying to master, though, for my someday kids.

One thing we've done is make big pots of soup or chili and frozen those, too, and it definitely makes things much easier. And the great thing about gardening is that you're kind of forced to use what you have. It's why I've always wanted to join a CSA. It's easier to plan a meal when you already have most of the ingredients.

Anyway, I'm only 29, I have a couple more years...

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

I was looking at the cook book stands, I like the ones with a plastic cover and fold up, I think I am going to get one.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

Yeah, I've never been one that could plan a week's worth of menus, much less stick to the plan. My menu planning consists of coming home from work and looking in the frig to see what needs to be used up. When I go to the grocery, I do try to make sure I have one or two recipes in mind to have all the ingredients for.

Re:It's why I've always wanted to join a CSA. It's easier to plan a meal when you already have most of the ingredients. ... I love our CSA, but of course what we get from it is fresh veggies. It doesn't help with any of the rest of the ingredients to use the veggies. What it does for me is make sure that I have big piles of fresh veggies around, more than I would ever buy myself at the farmer's market (and way cheaper than the farmer's market). Then because I hate to waste things (even when "wasting" them means putting them in the compost bucket), it pushes me to cook more often and with more fresh veggies.

Dinner last night was linguine avgolemono with artichoke hearts and green beans. The avogolemeno means that the pasta sauce was based on egg yolks, lemon juice, cream. The green beans were ones from the CSA that I froze.

I do have a shelf full of cookbooks, but often these days when I am figuring out what's for dinner tonight, I go on-line. There's recipe sites where you can tell it the ingredients I want to use are broccoli and potatoes and I want a vegetarian recipe. Then it will pop up a list of them.

User avatar
Cola82
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:05 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

Yeah, that's another thing--the internet is so much more convenient when you have eggplant and polenta and you're like, "how do I use both of these?" My recipe app lets me do that. And you always want to read the comments on a recipe on the internet. Often people have suggestions that make it much better, or fix little things, or account for kitchen quirks the recipe might not consider. So some of the recipes I've entered take those suggestions into account. I've occasionally found myself making a recipe from a book and wishing I could read some feedback.

As for the ingredients thing, I think it's easier for us to keep the essentials stocked--oil, vinegar, seasonings, nuts, condiments, and grains--than it is to creatively think of a bunch of vegetables to use and then set out to find them. We really had to hunt for parsnips when I wanted to make my ratatouille. They were really good, though.

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

I'm an organized planner for meals and the wife is more of a 'by the seat of the pants' kind of girl. This week I've started a new recipe file, in notebook form. It will have three sections. 'Ideas for entrees and sides' will be the largest section with probably 30-50 recipes. Those will be tried and true dishes that we look forward to having at least once per month. The next section will include a list of 'Soup ideas', and is mostly a winter time section. The third section will be 'desert ideas'. These are not necessarily our favorite deserts, but they are the ones that we like to eat most often. Seasonal deserts like pecan pie, fruit cake, coconut cake, even peanut butter cookies are only made once or twice per year at most. While we almost always keep a stock of our favorite daily cookies in the freezer.

I have indexed a very comprehensive notebooks that is full of favorites, with an index listing. But these don't do much good for deciding on the next meal or the next week's meal. I'm thinking that this narrowly focused notebook will be much more useful for weekly planning and for grocery shopping.

Yesterday I keyed in recipes, copy and pasted moving them into the broader electronic file, and printed hard copies for our new folder. So Far I have 20 entries in the Entree/side section, 7 soup entries, and eight deserts.

Here is a copy of the index. Let me know if anything tweaks your interest and I'll post the recipe.

Entree & Side ideas
Asian stir fry
Bread Gnocchi w/ tomato & basil*
Broccoli salad
Brown rice with black beans*
Brown rice, corn, cheese casserole*
Carol’s good macaroni salad
Carol’s Greek cole slaw*
Carol’s pilaf
Deep dish spinach pizza*
Egg plant & ziti parmesan*
fresh broccoli salad
Mexican salad
One Pan Farro w/ tomatoes*
Panzanella*
Pilaf with a purpose*
Salmon w/ veggie sides
Spaghetti with red sauce
Tex Mex layered salad*
Tex-Mex corn bread w/ veggies

Soup Ideas
Lintel soup
Bean soup
Black eyed pea soup
Mexican
Potato corn chowder
Tomato basil
Vegetable

Desert Ideas
Alex’s spice cake*
Billy Brooks’s Banana bread
Carol’s Basic muffin*
Carol’s Chocolate cake w/ praline topping*
Chocolate covered Crispix
Kathy Petri chocolate chip
Martha Stewart Streusel Coffee Cake
Sunny Acres Gingerbread*

*Recipe has been saved electronically plus hard copy.

BTW, the wife is vegetarian, so no meat recipes are included.

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3725
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

Hey, my cookbook from the library is by Mollie Katzen and is vegetarian! Do I get any points for that :wink: ?

Now, was that "avgolemono" or "avogolemeno?" I can get so confused in the kitchen . . . well no, I'm still doing okay on that front. Cooking can become kind of important to a "retired" person. Especially, if that retired person has a lot of garden produce from too large of gardens . . .

I'm just not much of a cook. I do like to rely on proportional schemes -- 1 part this to 2 parts that. I'd like a little "elbow-room" with a recipe. Like I made 2 loafs of Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Bread today. Could I be sure that I had 2 cups of cooked pumpkin in that freezer bag? I only knew that I didn't want to put it back since I'd already had that bag out a couple of days ago!

DW thinks only I can do the tofu/mushrooms right. What she doesn't know is that my ingredients are essentially the same as for the stir-fries I'm making all the time. In fact, they are darn near the same as the marinades I use for the meats . . .

Uh oh. Did I just lose those points . . ?

Steve

User avatar
Cola82
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:05 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

That's very impressive, alex. I often make lists, but then I forget them, or I don't look at them. I think it just takes a lot of practice to use those skills effectively.

My friend once told me that his professor told him that people who very internally organized are often surrounded by chaos because they know where everything is, and those who have a lot of internal chaos are often externally organized because it's the only way they can keep track of anything. I've always felt I fell into the latter category. I can't relax in a messy room.

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

My dad died in 1983, but I still hear that voice in my head. [A place for everything and everything in its place.] I'm not as good as he was wrt most things, but am definitely driven toward neatness and organization, but not to an anal level. I still set way too many things down in barn and other locations, day after day, until it becomes quite a mess to finally go in and get back into order.

In the house, we have what we call, lived in messy. A little clutter in one area and another, but we try to keep it from advancing beyond that, so that clean up is always just a matter of a few minutes. With so many projects going on lately, and everything either moved or part of a construction zone, it has been really difficult to keep any reasonable tidiness, with tools and clutter through much of the house. Thankfully we have mostly finished down stairs and have gotten the rooms involved back into service. Now the construction is focused upstairs. Maybe another four months and my urge for neatness can once again get a little satisfaction. At that point, we will begin a major overhaul of the garage area. At least the clutter and construction dust will be outside!

As far as meals are concerned, first, my wife is vegetarian, and second, she often likes to plan meals as an afterthought. Like, hmmmm, wonder what I'll fix for dinner tonight, and that process is taking place 45 minutes before meal time. Well it is my opinion that vegetarian meals can be just as satisfying as meat based meals, but the better vegetarian meals generally take more planning and shopping for ingredients. Seat of the pants usually results in something like steamed broccoli and carrots served with some brown rice, and maybe some kinds of legume. That basic meal is fine, but gets old if replayed too often. On the other hand, put some meat and potatoes on a plate and serve with a couple of sides, and for me, that would be good day after day. For vegetarian to compete taste wise requires variety of more complex compositions.

Now ladies don't misunderstand where I'm coming from. This is not a sit on the couch husband, sitting back waiting for a meal. I often prepare meals, and sometimes prepare them more often than the wife does. We don't have any kind of demands or expectations in that regard, other than the wife considers herself to be the primary meal maker. I wash, short, and fold clothes, most always clean the kitchen, clean my own bath area, and dust and dust mop regularly, share pet feeding duties, take out the compost, handle the recyclables, take care of investments as well as monitoring and paying bills, plus tend the chickens and take care of all outside chores. So we have a fairly balanced arrangement. Since the wife is nearing retirement, I'll likely give a few tasks back to her!

Anyway, I'm not exactly complaining about meals. Just am trying to provide some structure to help us remember the things that we try and like, and to make it easier to review those before shopping for the next week's groceries. That way we can work a couple of special meals into the lineup for most weeks.

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

My wife uses cook books more than me, much of what I cook I just toss together. I use cook books more for learning new things. Often we cook a bunch extra and put it in serving size containers into the freezer. I like having some nutritious dinners I can pull out when I don't have time to cook.

User avatar
hendi_alex
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

I tend to experiment and alter more than the wife does, at least with the early trials. I recently baked a spice cake. Have been longer for that old Claussen's I then, dark spice cake with raisins and maybe a cream cheese frosting. We have looked for the recipe, but it seems that the cake is just a remnant of my memory. Anyway, I found what looked like a decent recipe. But on the initial trial, I added a couple of tablespoons of cocoa, substituted dark molasses, substituted unsweetened applesauce for the apple butter, cut the sugar down by 1/4 cup, substituted regular raisins for golden and finally, used a different cream cheese icing recipe rather than the one that was included. Basically, attempted to change the recipe so that it more closely matched the cake of my memory.

The cake wasn't a perfect match, but was quite good nevertheless. Will likely modify further on the next attempt.

Here is the recipe for anyone who has a sweet tooth for such. The cake was very easy to make. I put mine in a couple of square deep pans and cooking time was increased a good bit.

Alex’s Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Modified from Bon Appetit recipe
Yield: Serves 12
ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 TBS cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsulfured dark molasses
1 cup raisins
preparation
For Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk apple butter, buttermilk, oil, eggs, molasses and raisins in medium bowl to blend. Stir apple butter mixture into dry ingredients. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer cakes to racks and cool 20 minutes. Run small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cakes. Turn cakes onto parchment-lined racks and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting with whipped cream:

from: https://notsohumblepie.blogspot.com/2011 ... .html#more

Prep time: 15 Min Serves: Makes about 3-4 cups

Ingredients

(16oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use pure not imitation)
1 c heavy whipping cream
1. Beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and briefly beat to combine. Do not over beat

User avatar
Cola82
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:05 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

That's cool that you help out. I never assumed you didn't, though. My boyfriend cooks a lot. And he's not a vegetarian, but definitely obliges me the same way. If you want a good last minute protein you can throw on a plate, though, CostCo sells these vegetarian sausages that cook pretty much exactly like regular sausage (except you have to remove the casing, because it's plastic). We put them in chili, soup, casseroles, breakfast, or just crisp them in a frying pan and serve with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Sometimes when we're feeling lazy, he just picks up picks up challah buns and we have sausage dogs with sauerkraut.

They come in packs of 12, with four of each type packed in groups of three. We usually eat the Apple Sage first, then the Italian, and wind up with a ton of chipotle left over because you can't cook them without stinking up the whole house. Usually they wind up in a dark beer chili we make. We would order them in bulk if we could.

I find them way tastier and more versatile than the bean burgers we get. He eats those more than I do.

As for the house, I generally think life is just controlled chaos anyway. I am very tidy, but things get away from me, too. I have little corners of clutter I can't seem to dispel. We even have a box in the closet in my office that I call the "chaos box" because it's full of things we can't get rid of but have no use for, including an old, broken and repaired trophy his grandfather gave him for being a number one grandson. Every time he gives me crap for the sentimental things I hold onto, I just refer to the trophy that has medicine bottle caps holding it together. That's right, Great Grandma Nana's spinning elephant music box gets to STAY in the bookshelf! Hah!

Love sure is great.

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3725
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

For me, Cola, your vegetarian sausage might end up thinly-sliced and in a stir-fry.

In fact, your "Spaghetti with Collard Greens and Lemon" seems like a good place for me to use the vegetarian sausage.

By the way, if you have trouble growing collards there in the Willamette Valley, you might have better luck with Portuguese Kale. Collards didn't like it here when I tried them years ago. I am very much looking forward to having the Portuguese Kale back this year after having grown them only once before. They seem very much like how I remember collards. They did just fine and I have already ordered and received more seed!

Steve

User avatar
Cola82
Green Thumb
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:05 pm
Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: Everyone is hibernating for the winter.

I do love kale. I'll definitely think about it. :D



Return to “Non-Gardening Related Hoo-ha and Foo”