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Klatsch: Don't Shop Now!


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I've stumbled into supplemental shopping mode too, buying a little bit of this or a little bit of that in order to use up what's left in the house already. The only splurge this week was a package of frozen sausage patties. But hey, I NEED those to use up the milk, flour and buttermilk biscuit mix, right?

Seriously though, I have huge quantities of pasta and canned soups, so it's usually vegetables to make an addition to the pasta, or a package of ground beef so I can use up those hamburger buns in the freezer. I've been spending a lot less too.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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Monday evening we had a rather successful evening of eating whatever leftovers were still in the refrigerator before we left for Shreveport - where we are now. The refrigerator has spaces (empty spaces) on some of the shelves. The downstairs freezer has more frost than food left in it. I am planning on preparing Frogmore Stew next week - some time after we return. We have smoked sausages and quite a bit of shrimp still on hand, but I will need to buy corn on the cob and potatoes. Since my family eats better, with less complaining, when I prepare Frogmore Stew - I am prompted to serve it occasionally throughout the year.

When we left Tuesday morning, there were a couple of bell peppers (one green, one red) still in the crisper drawer. They will, of necessity, be a part of the first meal or two when we return. Now, will need to focus on the starches in the pantry. Rice, couscous, lentils, pasta, barley and such need to be included regularly in the meal planning. Since they don't spoil as easily - they have been somewhat ignored recently. The meals will all include foods on hand with minimal purchase to keep well balanced meals on the table.

I also have about a half dozen boxes of Jell-O (or similar brands) which need to be worked into menus. Unfortunately, I am the only one who really enjoys the products. Maybe I will miraculously find a recipe that will wow everyone else.

The shopping list on the refrigerator door is longer than I would have expected - but we do need butter, milk, lettuce, etc. in order to continue using what been on hand for some time.

The return home has me already thinking about what can be done with what is left. The beef is gone except for a very large brisket. That will wait until there are more than three of us for dinner. We have enough gone that I have found some of those buried gems that the rest of you have been mentioning.

Time to sign off. My time on the public computer at the Shreveport library is just about over. Thanks for listening!

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Although no longer fully playing along, I must report how pleased I am to see that the spirit and essence of this challenge has become more ingrained as part of my normal behavior.

As part of the prep for my holiday dinners, I made homemade pierogies over the weekend. My dough recipe makes enough for about 3 dozen pierogies, and since the homemade ones are a once-a-year delicacy, I usually make 3 different fillings, since I can't choose which one I love the most. I make one of mashed potatoes flavored with bacon and onions sauteed in the drippings (well ok, and some cream cheese and a hit of horseradish....), one of finely minced and sauteed onions, mushrooms and sauerkraut, bound with some sour cream, and one of browned ground beef, mixed with sauteed finely minced onions and mushrooms, again, bound with a touch of sour cream. Even cutting the filling recipes in half, I always had a substantial amount of each left over after stuffing the beautiful little dumplings. Normally, the beef filling went to the doggies, and the potato and 'kraut fillings went, well, away. To the big land fill in the sky. I'm very ashamed of that, but well, it is what it is.

Or was. This year, I was faced with the normal leftovers, and VIOLA, the light came on. Hmmmmm....I have cooked ground beef and veg in sort of a sauce, and I have mashed potatoes. Sounds like a bastardized Shepherd's Pie to me (or whatever "shepherd" is in Polish). Mixed the beef and 'kraut fillings together, and dumped it into a casserole dish, spread the potatoes over the top, and tossed it into the fridge for later use. Which was tonight. Cooked it for about 1/2 an hour, covered with foil, at 350°, the pulled the foil off and gave it another 10 minutes.

It was damn good. Surprisingly damn good. And no waste. I would never have thought about that before. I am very proud of myself.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Am I too late? Nothing like a bit of kitchen clean-out to start a new year - although I didn't exactly plan the timing in advance, just couldn't motivate to shop this morning, created 'odds and ends' breakfast burritos then remembered this topic... I don't have much of a stockpile, especially since I was away for Christmas, but I'm pretty sure I can go for a week.

This morning, aforementioned burritos: leftover chinese take-out rice sauteed w/ minced onion, cherry tomatoes, & a spoonful of salsa; black beans; diced kielbasa mixed with scrambled eggs; grated cheddar. Rather mediocre - but saved us having to get dressed, brush snow off the car, drive to the store, etc. on a rather groggy New Year's morning!

Dinner: I had a whole chicken in the fridge so tonight was easy. Roast chicken, added some diced potato and onion to the roasting pan. We also had a large package of arugula, so had salad w/ walnuts & dried cranberries. I feel like I got off easy tonight, but the days to come should take more creativity!

Minced the leftover potatoes and onions w/ a bit of the leftover chicken - will have hash & eggs for breakfast tomorrow. Making chicken stock as we speak and have a decent amount of chicken leftover too. Wont get to use those tomorrow as we're having dinner at the in-laws' (and maybe breakfast the next day) but I'll report back thereafter!

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Last time we ran this challenge, an ABC News television crew did a story that was scheduled to run on Good Morning America. Several postponements later, the story seemed to disappear into the abyss of never-aired television footage. Over the past couple of days, however, a version of the piece has started to air on some of the local ABC evening news broadcasts. Here's an example from the Seattle station:

http://www.komonews.com/news/consumer/80756472.html

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 months later...

I'm going to try for a month, but I'm following my own rules. (I don't conform as well as some.)

Read more on my blog.

I have turned over the idea of doing this for many, many months. Why am I saving all this food? What am I waiting for? I'm an excellent and creative cook. It seems silly that I can't come up with a use for all these ingredients I have squirreled away.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm about halfway through the month now, and things are still pretty packed in the pantry and freezers. We keep plugging away at the stores of food. I'm starting to (dare I mention it) reconsider the notion of buying some of the food for my son's birthday party the weekend after this one. I have so much food on hand, surely I can kluge together a menu based on the stuff in the freezer and pantry. Hmmm.

I have continued to blog about not shopping, including a column in today's Frederick (MD) News-Post in which I quote Fat Guy.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Congrats Chris, how did the move go?

We moved into a new house one week ago today. I'm a little embarassed to say that the first thing I did was go out and spend $50 at Fresh N Easy. It was 90% refridgerated items though, some frozen veg and fruits, fresh mushrooms, scallions, etc. During the move I packed up my whole pantry and was astounded to see how much I actually had stuffed all over the house. When I went shopping, I made it a point to buy what would compliment all of the dry and canned goods that I had. The pantry basically fell into three categories: Condiments/Sauces/Other Liquids, Pastas/Grains/Beans, Baking items.

The pasta/grains/beans items were all still good, though not exactly freshly made. I've been making a lot of pasta meals lately.

The baking items are all faily fresh, and now that I've had the time to hook up the stove (which would have been a simple matter had it not required the rerouting of a gas line) many cookies and quick breads are in the near future.

As far as the condiments/sauces/other liquids category, I have to admit some failure. There were quite a few things that went into the trash/recycle bins due to excessive age (a can of peppers from 2004), a funky appearance (one rusted can of chipotles that somehow managed to get stuck underneath a cabinet) or indecipherable markings (some asian condiments whose dates were not readily apparent to this English speaker).

On the whole, however, my pantry came through the move pretty well. Now that I've gone through everything, and have a kitchen that has roughly 50% more cabinet space than the old one, I'm hoping to whittle away at the pantry until it is a more manageable size, and focus my efforts on eating what I have instead of saving it for some "future project" that never seems to come. I'm afraid I'll have to stick to supplementary shopping though instead of eating exclusively from the pantry/freezer since my freezer at the moment is 80% ice, and my pantry consists of mostly pasta/beans and sauces. Tasty to be sure, but hardly enough for nutritionally balanced meals, I'm sorry to say.

edited: to add congrats to Chris on the move

Edited by Shamanjoe (log)

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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  • 11 months later...

I've got a smallish standing freezer and two over-the-fridge freezers. I want to buy a side of beef and a half a hog, and I don't have the room to do it. So, for the next few months, I will be buying NO meat, and trying to use up what's in the freezers. Wish me luck!

Tracy

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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  • 2 years later...

I found this old thread by accident when googling for some ideas on wheat berries and ending up in the previous challenge's thread.

I think it's amazing how many people took part in the challenge and how much fun it was.

Lately, I have been trying to be smarter about my food shopping/planning and I've succeeded in part (my fridge and freezer are no longer bursting in seams) but I still have a terrible habit of impulse-buying pantry items like unusual varieties of lentils, rice and pasta... I opened my pantry last night and it was a solid mass of random half-finished packets of everything-and-its-mother, tins of so-interesting-but-never tried ingredients and multitude of other odds and ends (the most notable is probably my nuts and seeds "collection") - I have to say I was scared a bit. Me finding this old thread now seems like a sign I should do something about it!

Committing to regular reports is a great way to make one stick with the goals, I think, so I thought I could revive this topic (I hope it is OK :wink:).

My goals:

  • no shopping for food for at least a week, after that only fresh veggies and fruits and things I run out of (butter, milk...) - no pantry items, deli counter or snacks for as long as I can
  • clean out the freezer completely before Christmas, defrost and clean it
  • go through the fridge and minimize the clutter - eliminate all those half-empty sauces, jams and other condiments
  • attack the pantry! Leave no packet/jar/tin/box unfinished!
  • be conscious about shopping - buy nothing I still have or have a good replacement for (no penne if I still have tagliatelle), try to make some things from scratch from time to time instead of buying them (bread, pastry...), use what I have so I don't have to toss something and buy new stuff (also be conscious about how much and why I am tossing - limpness of a carrot or a brown spot on an apple aren't good enough reasons!)
  • plan better so my leftovers or by-products can be used as ingredients for upcoming meals
  • save some money so I can buy more/better gifts for my family this year

Day 1

Breakfast - onion baguette from the freezer, butter, Camembert style cheese and crispy bacon

Snack - apple

Lunch - wheat berries (half of them fried in butter until crispy), spicy salami (leftover from a last week's gaming party), edamame, peas and broad beans (the very last of a frozen mix), few tablespoons of roasted duck pan juices (which I have kept in lieu of demi-glace for flavoring purposes instead of using it with the roasted bones in the soup I was making - I couldn't believe how much pan juices I got from that one duck skeleton and trimmings, and it gelled beautifully too!)

Snack - cherry tomatoes and a final fourth of a cucumber

Dinner - rest of the cheese from the morning + two more cheeses Mom brought for me from Netherlands, carrot sticks with yogurt dip (I have a whole bag of carrots, I will have to think of things I can do with them that are not boring because I don't particularly like them cooked.)

Today, I would have gone to M&S and bought a bunch of goodies. But I am not going and I can already say I saved some money doing this :biggrin:

Vlcatko

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Good for you, Vlcatko! Do keep at it, and keep us posted! You may help some of us other impulse-buyers to work our way down through the stock.

I had a good start at it late this summer: after my sister and I spent weeks emptying our mother's apartment and throwing away or giving away (as appropriate) food, I came home inspired to do the same at my house. It worked for a while. I had the small chest freezer about half-empty, with the goal of emptying it before the year was out...

...

then I went to the local farmer's market and realized I was running out of chances to buy the good locally-grown chickens, since they'd all been slaughtered and were soon to be sold out. There are now 6 large chickens occupying that newly-made space!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Vlcatko, have you ever tried carrot and raisin salad? It's grated carrots, a few raisins (proportionate amount) and some canned crushed pineapple. Pretty much makes its' own dressing after a rest in the fridge, and tastes great. Very sweet, though! HTH!

Don't boyher to drain the pineapple, just uxe it juice and all.

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"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I am also interested to follow your project, and thanks for reviving the thread; I hadn't seen it.

I don't like cooked carrots much either, but I do like carrot and coriander soup. Perhaps you would as well? With raw carrots, you can make a salad with Puy lentils and toasted cumin seeds, olive oil and lemon juice that is very delicious. I also like them grated and dressed with mustard, toasted sesame/pumpkin/poppy seeds, herbs and oil and lemon juice. They are also good with tahini, if you have some lurking in your kitchen... you can dip them in tahini and yogurt mixed, or grate them and dress them in the tahini/yogurt. It's nice in pita. If you cut them into ribbons with a vegetable peeler you can have them in your sandwiches. They're good company for Wesleydale/Cheshire/Lancashire cheese, with lots of black pepper. I also like carrot juice with ginger, or mixed with other vegetable juices.

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I didn't find this thread a coulple months ago -and infact started a new post- when I was desperately trying to clean up my pantry before moving. After a couple weeks i was at loss. No way, I could have accomplished the task...now, starting from zero, i'm restraining myself from buying too much. It help thats my pots and pans are not here yet.

You can do it!

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Nancy - thank you! I will try :smile: Yeah, I have almost-succeeded with the freezer a few times already but then comes a great deal or a generous grandmother and poof go my plans :laugh: This time around, I plan to be really really determined and use my parent's freezer if it comes to worst - I wouldn't mind a good deal on geese or ducks because I want to make rillettes as Christmas gifts. But St. Martin's Day (November 11 is a traditional day to roast a goose or a duck and open that year's wines in the Czech Republic) is almost here and so far nothing...

judiu - I am a very picky eater and I do not like raisins so no, I haven't. But I really like the carrot salad my grandma used to make for me when I was a kid - finely grated carrots and apples, orange juice and a little bit of sugar. As a matter of fact, when I was preparing my meals for today, that's what I came up as my snack! Great minds think alike, heh? :wink: I didn't have any oranges so I used lime juice and it was still tasty, however, I think the pineapple would be great as well - I just wouldn't use any extra sugar - so thanks for your suggestion: next time, I will try it with pineapple.

Plantes Vertes - thank you for your suggestions! I will definitely try the tahini/yogurt and mustard/seeds versions - sounds tasty and I have all of those things on hand. For the soup, would I use fresh coriander or coriander seeds? I don't have either but I may want to try it sometime in the future... Unfortunately, I do not own a juicer but I love carrot juice with ginger, the best one I've had had a little pineapple thrown in.

Franci - I remember that thread - I will have to go and check for some ideas there, I am sure there will be plenty of good ones :smile: Yeah, if you have a limited time in which you have to finish all of everything and you can't buy new supplies, it must be near impossible to do it. My advantage is I will be able to buy new ingredients that will help me to use up the old/duplicate items and that I can take as long as I need. I will try to come up with some system to help me have a "smarter" pantry and somehow force me into disciplined cooking/shopping routine.

Day 2

Breakfast - oatmeal porridge (the instant kind, apple and cinnamon flavor)

Snack - grated carrot and apple salad

Lunch - cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red bell pepper, mozzarella, olive oil, salt and pepper

Snack - last piece of onion baguette, butter, raspberry jam and more Camembert style cheese - I still have at least a half of the last piece from the multi-pack but no good bread to bake it onto/into (which is what I like to do with such a cheese after it had seen its better days) so maybe I will try a savory panna cotta with some crackers, I should still have some somewhere in the pantry...

Dinner - oven baked potato chips with cheese sauce (leftover from the day before yesterday, we had it with spaghetti squash)

Vlcatko

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When I saw this, I realized I should get on board with this, although my boyfriend and I are coming from a different place than the one described by the OP: Our refrigerator and freezer are not overflowing with anything other than condiments and things like paint rollers. The refrigerator looks like it could belong to most of the single men I know, sparsely populated with things that have obscure reasons for their presence (e.g. the empty bottle of gomme syrup persists, to remind me we're out).

Our living situation has been a little odd these past two years, and we've slipped into the habit of compensating for lack of privacy and space, and having most of ours stuff in storage, by being a little extravagant when it comes to food. This is aided and abetted by the fact that most of the time, I have to shop on foot, and the only supermarket that is less than a 40-minute walk away is a highish-end one.

Although a combination of workload and sloth mean I don't shop every day, it certainly takes place several times a week, and there are no specially designated days; it just happens when we decide we want X for dinner, and need ingredients a, b, and c, but don't have them.

So, my boyfriend and I decided to experiment with an economically leaner approach to shopping and eating. This began last week, when I bought a clump of meat, and a bag of root vegetables, cut it all into into little strips, and wracked my brains to come up with something truly tasty every day.

This week I'm continuing, and since there were two eggs languishing in the refrigerator, I decided to make fars (the mixture for frikadeller), and take things from there.

A quick look at the refirgerator reveals a very typical(for us) array of items that are kind of useless on their own:

Partial bag of washed baby rucola

Large packet of smoked salmon containing exactly one teeny piece

Some pasteurized egg whites in their cup-packages

2 eggs

Nearly empty bottle of fish sauce

Empty bottle of gomme syrup

Bottle of champagne

Squeeze bottle of mayonnaise

Half a brick of butter

Bottle of toasted sesame oil

Sambal olek

Baking powder

Oyster sauce

2 packets of sandwich meat

2 bags of baby carrots (actual, complete small carrots, not those weird stumpy things)

800g chopped chicken

Bottle of lemon juice

Half litre bottle of tonic water

Litre of chicken broth

4 scallions

2 bell peppers

The freezer holds coffee beans, some lemon grass, some ginger, two slightly mummified-looking limes (last three items chucked in here before we went on holiday, and just kind of stayed there.)

(The last eight items on the refriegerator list were bought yesterday or today, and yesterday also saw me buying rice, a packet of sour gummi sweets (= breakfast and lunch: I had a deadline...), and tin of water chestnuts (used in last night's stir-fry); today I also picked up some baking soda.

Breakfast was coffee, lunch was leftover strir-fry from last night. Dinner will be frikadeller, with the carrots (raw; they're really sweet), and rice or pasta (there are penne and tagliatelle in the cupboard).

ETA Although the fars is now made, it looks like the frikadeller are not going to happen until Saturday night, owing to work-related chaos. Form and freeze, I guess(?). I'm a bit leery of having an egg-and-chopped-chicken-meat mixture just sitting in the refrigerator for over two days.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Michaela - yay, I was curious whether someone would join this time around :smile: So, what would your goals be? Eliminate all the "special" ingredients? Or incorporate more from scratch cooking that kind of chains the ingredients/products? Something else? Hmmm... Your stocktaking has led me to consider if I should be doing it as well - I am a bit scared though - I know I have so much stockpiled that if I list it all it will be plain as day that I have a packratting problem :blush::biggrin:

judiu - thanks, I will, once I have eliminated my stash of nuts, seeds and similar items. I have put them on my want-to-try list.

Day 3

Breakfast - bread and sourcream butter spread (which Mom left at work yesterday and I had to eat so they wouldn't spoil over the weekend), red bell peper

Snack - leftover potato chips from yesterday, yogurt dip

Lunch - somen noodles, edamame, peanut-sesame sauce (peanutbutter, tahini, soy sauce, duck pan juices)

Snack - apple

Dinner - couscous with canned tuna and sweet corn (used last two tiny cans of tuna, there are still 4 more corn cans)

Right now, I have an oxtail and few pieces of beef side (that would be de-boned ribs?) in a slow oven - will shred the meat in the morning and use the rest for beef stock. I have one or two ideas for the shredded meat, I will have to wait and see how much I will get...

I have to say I have no problems so far with coming up with meals for several days to come, the only concern will be fresh fruits and vegetables (and little later meat) - I am slowly but surely running out. I will probably buy some fresh produce once the first week is finished. I could eat like a king for at least two more weeks without ANY shopping, I think, but it wouldn't be a very balanced diet...

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Vlcatko

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Assorted grains and pasta like things...I am guilty of accumulating several packages of rice and soba noodles, Arborio, brown rice, farro, barley, quinoa, mixed grains (sort of a pilaf kind of blend), dry pastas...Ouch.

I think I need to cull out some of those grains...I think I will cook up whichever is closest to being finished and portion out for grain salads for my weekday lunch. That way I can add veggies, leftover cooked meat, or whatever else needs to leave the fridge. Having those little containers ready to go makes it easy in the morning.

I've been working through the freezer stock in anticipation of Thanksgiving leftovers, so at least that area is under control.

Edited by BeeZee (log)

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Michaela - yay, I was curious whether someone would join this time around :smile: So, what would your goals be? Eliminate all the "special" ingredients? Or incorporate more from scratch cooking that kind of chains the ingredients/products? Something else? Hmmm... Your stocktaking has led me to consider if I should be doing it as well - I am a bit scared though - I know I have so much stockpiled that if I list it all it will be plain as day that I have a packratting problem :blush::biggrin:

. . . .

Mostly, it seems like a good idea for us to stop splashing money around thoughtlessly. Pretty much everything I cook is from scratch, but the situation had reached the point that we were eating things like the most expensive steaks several times a week, since shopping for, and making them is a speedy no-brainer, and as I mentioned, we've been feeling stressed by our living situation, and inclined to baby ourselves. The thing is, when I managed to scrape time from my schedule to make more complicated things from less expensive ingredients, the results are always so good, and we realized we missed the variety of dishes we enjoyed previously. We were also spending 50 to 100% more on food than we used to.

We don't have a stockpile of stuff (the 'special' bottles and things I listed we actually use rather a lot of, on a regular basis); with next to no storage space, we're fairly selective about what we buy, and I'm a bit uptight about getting stuff we don't need, anyway. If I see something we use a lot of on sale, I'll get plenty of that, if it's something that will keep.

Today was... unimpressive. I restocked on Wasa and laks, which get a heavy workout around here (and would have bought before starting this, if I'd noticed how low we'd run), and also got a bag of (inexcusable, if cheap) frozen edamame, half of which I ate as dinner while staring at my computer and typing with my other hand (I'm hammering my way through a heavy workload, and my boyfriend is having dinner with some colleagues). And I drank a lot of coffee. And had a small apple, and a whole bag of gummi bears, because when I'm not making careful decisions about food, I eat like an unsupervised child.

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Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Michaela, do you think that your klatsch challenge will involve more planning? More cooking? More advance preparation? Different food groups/types? I am also inclined towards expensive food that is easy to prepare and instantly delicious. Not a lot of economical dried beans and slow cooking happening here... I will be interested to see how you go.

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Michaela, do you think that your klatsch challenge will involve more planning? More cooking? More advance preparation? Different food groups/types? I am also inclined towards expensive food that is easy to prepare and instantly delicious. Not a lot of economical dried beans and slow cooking happening here... I will be interested to see how you go.

The intent is to do more planning, to be more aware of what I'm deciding to make, be less automatic, especially at the shopping phase. It will involve more prep. work, but an hour spent turning a kilo of vegetables/meat into match-sticks/strips takes care of an entire week. Scheduling considerations make food that is ready at very short notice extremely desirable, so dishes that come together quickly, or can be made in advance and held (e.g. sautéed, pan- or stir-fryied, braised) tend to be top choices.

I doubt there will be an uptick in the amount of cooking involved. Dinner is the only cooked meal we have every day. We prefer light, cold breakfasts and lunches, and the items involved are more or less fixed, since I don't consume them (I often skip both; my boyfriend has a couple of Wasa with laks for breakfast, and packs his lunch, which consists of three slices of bread with cold meat).

I bake the bread we use, but apart from that, we don't bake much; I'm a fiend for baked goods, and unfortunately, starches do lousy things to me, so I keep a lid on my intake of them.

We cover most of the food groups (starches and dairy not so much), although the coverage fluctuates, depending on season and mood; that won't be changing much. I love beans, since I grew up in a region where they're really important, so they show up quite a bit. There is a been and kale soup that I love and have been thinking of making (the recipe yield 3 litres!), but I'm not so sure I could run that by my boyfriend repeatedly for several days without his becoming a bit gloomy. The stuff also packs quite a blast radius, as foods go.

No grocery shopping today. Breakfast was coffee and one of those chicken skewer things you get at 7-11 (we were in the centre of town today, and my boyfriend noticed I was beginning to look vaguely homicidal and decided food would be a good idea), and I'm thinking about having the rest of the edamame for lunch, but mostly, I'm looking forward to seeing how my chicken frikadeller come out this evening.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Plantes Vertes - thanks, another item on my want-to-try list :smile: I think lot of us here at eGullet must be at least a bit of a food hedonist - when I talk to "normal people" about food or food preparation they are usually surprised by how much time and effort (and money) I am willing to invest into a single meal. The fact that our bill for the groceries has been so huge lately is one of the reasons I decided to do this challenge - with the Christmas coming closer we will be thankful for every extra Crown we can get...

BeeZee - I also like to use leftover grains and similar things (couscous mainly, quinoa, millet...) for patties/fritters (but I actually bake them in the oven using partially filled mini muffin molds - very efficient, no fat, less hands-on time). I just mix the cooked grain with an egg or two (sometimes little flour as well when it looks like the egg wouldn't be enough to keep it together), a choice of meat and/or vegetables and bake until crispy. My favorite combo is couscous and finely diced spicy salami or sausage. Leftover rabbit or duck meat and some variation on pate seasoning are also great. They are a popular treat at parties.

Michaela - I think a good approach could be to try to start some sort of meal plans - if you both have a very busy week and you basically can only do any kind of larger preparations on weekends and you want to be able to just come home and quickly be able to cook something when you have a plan it is much easier and quicker to get everything ready and out. Buying a whole chicken on Friday for example can be a great way to prepare for the upcoming week. Take the chicken apart and use the bones and scraps for stock during the weekend. Over the week you can make a quick soup based on the stock (I usually make two soups - one clear chicken broth and one used as a liquid in a heavier soup), use the breats for salads or as steaks, bake the thighs or use them in stir-fries. Or if you don't wan't to eat chicken the whole week, put majority of the deconstructed chicken in the freezer and use just one or two items - there's where the planning comes into play - if you know what are you going to cook in the evening, you can just place the selected ingredient from the freezer into the fridge in the morning and by the time you get home it's all ready to be cooked. I found that when I stick to the meal plans I came up with I am always quicker and more efficient in the kitchen and grocery store and I also frequently loose a bit of weight as a bonus :laugh:

Day 4

Well this wasn't the greatest of days, I have to say. Or rather 24 hours. Remember the oxtail I wrote about yesterday? I put it into the oven straight from the freezer, wrote the yesterday's post and went to the cinema with my family. When we came back the whole flat smelled terrible. Like, well like rotten meat. I pulled the meat from the oven and examined it - I guess because our freezer is quite cold and I was just tossing the frozen tail straight into the oven I didn't notice anything but the oxtail must have been bad. It smelled awful, sour and just plain icky. Sad thing is I had to toss the ribs as well as I wouldn't risk it after all the juices mixed and everything :sad:

So no beef stock and no pulled meat for us.

Then today, I dropped my portion of the salmon I was making for lunch on the ground as I was transfering it from the tray to my plate. It splattered... with enthusiasm... I was able to salvage some of it, luckily, because it was really delicious.

Breakfast - scrambled eggs with spicy salami, hot dog sausages, kartofelpuffer (a cousin of latkes and rostis)

Snack - pomelo

Lunch - baked salmon with mustard sauce (I used 3 kinds of mustards - wholegrain, Dijon and Czech, the rest of the duck pan juices and heavy cream), duck fat roasted potatoes (fingerlings and purple)

Snack - Ben and Jerry's Chocolate fudge brownie ice cream

Dinner - hand pies from puff pastry filled with mixture of chopped beef, hot dog sausages, canned corn and potted pork

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Vlcatko

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