Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wow, where did that week go?

It's amazing how quickly time goes by here at the Gardiner house. I can't believe it's already been a week since my last post, even though I'd pledged to post more often. I have been keeping myself busy, though! I've been biking Owen to school at least one way most days, along with keeping the house clean (still on my FlyLady kick) and making healthy meals for the family almost every night. I signed up for menu mailers from the FlyLady's cohort at Saving Dinner, and let me tell you, I am a believer. Even Bill, who was extremely skeptical at first, has to admit that he's been eating pretty well lately.

The way Saving Dinner works is you sign up for a particular menu (she has several different types - I've been doing the low-carb/body clutter since I'm determined to get my butt back in shape this year), and then every week you download the new menu. It provides a coded shopping list (so you can easily see which ingredients go with which meal in case you want to substitute) and recipes for six meals along with a soup to make for lunches. While there are definitely meals we've liked better than others, we haven't had any real stinkers.

I love that she mostly uses whole ingredients rather than packaged stuff - I've found myself shopping around the outside of the grocery store (as in, hitting the deli & meat, dairy case and produce section and avoiding all the processed-food aisles) for the most part and we are all eating so much better. I really wanted to shop the farmer's market heavily this summer but we've only gone a couple times. However, we do have our freezer filled with local, pasture-fed beef and pork, we've got our backyard eggs, we've got a ton of green beans and a fair number of tomatoes from the garden (all the carrots have, sadly, been eaten and the watermelons and zucchini just aren't going to make it - they're still flowering), and I just signed up to have local dairy delivered to our door every Thursday. In glass bottles. How cool is that? When I told him, Bill immediately had to dig out Skeleton Crew by Stephen King and make me read the short story about the milkman...

I've also been on a total canning tear. In addition to the pickled beets I posted about a couple weeks ago, I've made dilly beans, diced tomatoes and today was all about the apple butter. Tomorrow is applesauce day to use up the rest of the 20-lb box of apples we bought, and after that I'm thinking of making some green tomato relish to use up the poor tomatoes that aren't going to make it past the first frost. I decided to stop using recipes from the internet and bought the Ball Blue Book. Canning is so much easier with that book in front of me - they detail everything to do (and not to do) very nicely.

In a final spasm of domesticity, today I got back on the bread-baking wagon and whipped up a loaf and a half dozen dinner rolls. My friend Chris is starting sort of a "lost arts" cooking school, and last Friday night a bunch of us got together for her to practice her teaching on. She taught us all of her tricks for bread and bagels (bagels will be made later this week - I love cinnamon sugar bagels with a filthy passion but they don't have them at the bagel place around the corner from us), and her tips and tricks really helped. Sort of like taking a knitting class from a really good teacher - even if you already know the technique covered by the class, sometimes it's worth it just to get those little tidbits that are inside the teacher's head (Joan Schrouder classes are like this). I must've done something right because the kids fell on those rolls like a pack of wild dogs. Chris is going to teach us all how to make yogurt and cream cheese next.

I also spent a fair amount of time packing up samples and patterns to send to various shops. Yarn Harbor in Duluth, Minnesota is going to have a trunk show of Gardiner Yarn Works patterns for the rest of October and November, along with A Good Yarn, which is a new yarn shop up in Port Orchard, Washington (yes, it's named after the Debbie Macomber book and yes, she's involved in the shop). Locally, Dublin Bay Knitting Co, the source for enough Handmaiden and Fleece Artist to fill up your bathtub and roll around in, has several samples of ours as well including the fabulous Amethyst Wrap which was the hit of our booth at both TKGA and OFFF.

At the moment, I'm trying to decide if I want to watch the rest of the presidential debate, which I have Tivoed, or if it's too frustrating since I already love one of the candidates and despise the other... I might watch the last half hour of Michael Clayton instead. I'm working on a crochet design, of all things, and it is very, very fun! I'll let you all know if it turns into anything, other than a pain in my left wrist!


Blogger greetingarts said...

Wow, cool, you're branching off into crochet? Can't wait to see what you've come up with.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous chrispy said...

I love the saving dinner menus. I especially loved the crock pots ones which if I remember she eliminated. I mainly cook from the saving dinner books now but the weekly mailers are great unless you run off a CSA farm share like we do. The books allow me to use the CSA shares better.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Funny, I also am planning ahead our meals a week ahead since school started, so I don't end up always making the same stuff every night.

It works surprisingly well, and I am being really organized. It's just that I would need to include more exercise in my day in order to finally get near a weight that I feel better with... I bike every day, I walk every day, and I iceskate twice a week, but that does not add up to 30 minutes of exercise per day... Argh.

Anyway, like you, I feel I'm on the right track, and that certainly feels good.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Blush. Let me know how the bagels come out. I always make mine savory, but I may have to try the cinnamon sugar variation!

12:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home