Monday, May 28, 2012

Upping the produce intake and making lemonade

After a few too many pricey grocery visits in the early spring, Hubby suggested stretching our grocery shopping to three weeks instead of two. I declared it implausible, but then we tried it anyway. As it turns out, we end up emptying our cupboards and freezers more effectively, so that when we do eventually bring home three plastic tubs of food, we can actually fit it all in our house.

This week, I went a little crazy on the produce side of things. Everything just looked delicious, and no, I was not shopping on an empty stomach, although I was there sans kids. Here's what I bought:
-3 heads of cauliflower
-1 pineapple
-1 pint raspberries
-a bunch of kale
-6 sweet potatoes
-2 zucchini
-3 leeks
-2 lemons
-2 butternut squash
-giant bag of russet potatoes
-medium bag of vidalia onions
-4 bell peppers

The upside is that the trip to Food Basics only ran me about 80$, between all the fruits and veggies and the various other things like milk, pasta, sausages, hash browns, etc.

My hope is to use up everything before it goes bad, and I have three weeks. As soon as I got back from the store, I chopped up the leeks and froze them in 1-cup servings to add to soups or whatever. D and I gobbled up the raspberries (she finished them with her lunch today), and I went through both lemons (I literally made lemonade, surprisingly for the first time) and half the kale (made into chips, only the second time I've ever done so) with dinner tonight. I'm planning to steam, puree and freeze the cauliflower tomorrow in one fell swoop, and maybe shred and freeze the zucchini, too. I might cut the celery into sticks and keep it in a bowl of water in the fridge, so that's it's easy to snack on. I'll wait until the pineapple's properly ripe to cut it up and keep it in a bowl for the same purpose. All of that should take care of the more perishable items, and the rest will keep nicely until we need it.

I adapted a lemonade recipe and was shocked at how well it turned out. I've really only ever had bottled or made-from-frozen-concentrate lemonade, and this was way better.

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup lemon juice (I squeezed two lemons, then used bottled lemon juice for the rest)
3 1/2 cups cold water

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the water and sugar together until the sugar completely dissolves. Pour into a pitcher, along with the lemon juice, and stir in the cold water. Serve with ice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Makeover in slow motion

Our master bedroom has been driving me nuts lately. I would really like for it to be a haven just for Hubby and me, away from toys and clutter. (The girls can visit occasionally.) However, it would seem that whenever we do a big clean-up of the main level, our room becomes a catch-all for random objects. For instance, at the moment I have an ANZAC day poppy, two pencil crayons, a half-pack of baby wipes and a tall stack of books on my side of the bed. And that's to say nothing of the two basketfuls of laundry to be put away, and other clothes on the floor.
So, an important step towards making over our room is de-cluttering it. And not just the room itself, but the ensuite and the walk-in closet (which is a bit of a misnomer currently). Also, I can't devote much money to the project, so I'm hoping to redecorate using things we already have elsewhere in the house (as suggested by a savvy decorator friend), or can find at garage sales. Here's how slow the progress has been:

-from about the time we moved in (three years ago now), we didn't have a bed frame, just the mattress and box spring on the ground. Last summer, we found a white metal Ikea frame we liked for 119$. Lucky thing that we're both tall, because the top of the mattress is about a meter from the floor.

-in 2010, I found a piece of artwork at a garage sale for 20$. It was in our guest bedroom until D took over. It has been languishing in our room, pitifully propped against a wall, for nearly a year now. I love the colours in it, and I think it'll pull the room together nicely once Hubby gets the time to hang it up.

-last weekend, our neighbours two doors down held a garage sale, and I bought twp lamps from them, 5$ for the pair. Our previous bedside lamps were probably 10$ apiece from Walmart, purchased almost seven years ago. They'll be very happy in the guest bedroom downstairs.

We still need to decide whether or not to paint. I dislike the cost, effort, and smell of it (even though Hubby pays and does all the work), but I know it can really brighten up a room. The thing is, our room is one of the brightest in the house. Good luck taking an afternoon nap there, unless you're seriously sleep-deprived. Which brings me to window treatments. We do have blinds, but I'd like to put up either black-out curtains or heavy ones with a punchy pattern. My decorating tastes, if they can even be called that, run to the very bland. (There is a lot of beige in our house.) I'm trying to branch out without breaking the bank. We'll see how it all goes.