Tag Archives: cooking

What Does Colette Eat?

This post might seem a little strange, coming out of left field, but what the hell. Food is very, very important to me. I am one of those people that definitely lives to eat. You might not think it to look at me because I stay fit and lean but if you knew me in real life and asked, “Are you hungry?” or “Do you want to eat?” at any given point of the day, the answer is usually “YES.” (It’s a safe bet.)

I won’t say I hoard food so much as stockpile.  I think of hoarders as people who have no clue what they have and who won’t ever get to all of it (i.e., if it’s food, a lot of it will expire or go bad) – that is not me.  I eat what I buy, keep track of expirations, write the date on foods in the freezer and so on. I do tend to deliberately load up on  supplies pre-winter because I like the comfort of knowing that even if there’s a 3-foot snow storm and I can’t get anywhere, I’ll still have food to eat. And even shy of that, since I don’t have a car, I just like knowing that I have stuff, and won’t necessarily have to trudge out in the sub-freezing temps or ride the bus to get groceries (which I seem to be doing like clockwork anyway, but…).

Last year I was what I considered a bit indulgent in my grocery shopping. I treated myself to foods I wouldn’t otherwise buy. It was nice and I enjoyed it. I did also keep track of what I spent on food and come the end of the year, it was about $2,200. As a lump sum, that kind of jumped out at me. I had no sense if that’s about par or what (anytime I’ve seen food cost charts, they usually are calculated for a “family of four” or something). Anyway, I decided I’d like to bring that figure back down this year, more in line with previous years.

These thoughts about cost are somewhat extraneous so far as this post – the post is just a list of the foods I have on hand right now. I thought it would be helpful to me to make it and it was.  I don’t know if it’ll be helpful to anyone else but maybe it might. (I like to know what other people eat and to get new ideas, especially from people who are fit and health-conscious.) I don’t follow any “diet” that has a name but I try to eat well and I really, really enjoy food.

FREEZER

2018 Farmers market Yams = 3 jars

2018 Farmers market Turnips = 2 small bags

2018 Farmers Market Butternut Squash = 2 small bags

Mixed Berries = ½ bag, about 1.5lbs

Blueberries = 3lb bag

Strawberries = 2 or 3lbs

Blackberries = ½ bag, about 1.5lbs

Red & Green Peppers = 2 1lb bags

Okra = 1 old bag

Spinach = ½ 1lb bag

Peas = 2 1lb bags

Green Beans = 1 1lb bag

Homemade Refried Beans = 3 small jars

Whole Wheat bread = 1 open bag, 1 unopened bag

Whole Wheat Pita Bread = 1 open bag, 1 unopened 12oz bag

Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas = 4 small bags

Homemade Pasta  dish = 7 portions

Homemade Egg Sandwiches = 4

Homemade Spinach & Artichoke Heart Quiche = 2 portions

Homemade Pie = 2 slices

Homemade healthy cookies = 6 small bags

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks = 34 1oz sticks

Colby & Montery Jack cheese = 14 1oz cubes

Feta = half a jar

Cheddar Slices = 3

Brown Rice = 1 5lb bag

Wild Rice = 1lb

Arborio Rice = little left in container

White Rice = 1lb

Whole Wheat Flour = 3.5 5lb bags

White Flour = 1 5lb bag

Walnuts = 2 16oz bags plus small 4oz bag

Brown Sesame Seeds = 2 1lb bags

Almonds = 2.5lbs

Raw Sunflower seeds = a lot

Pitted Dates = a lot

Homemade Soup = 3 jars

 

CANS

Green Beans = 4

Peas = 1

Corn = 4

Pickles = 1

Salmon = 6 15oz cans

Tuna = 10 cans

Crushed Tomatoes = 8 28oz cans

Diced Tomatoes = 11 28oz cans

Whole Peeled Tomatoes = 2 28oz cans

Evaporated Milk = 1 can

Pineapple = 2 24oz cans

Peaches = 2 15oz cans

Pears = 2 15oz cans

Tomato Paste – 2 6oz cans

 

PANTRY FOODS

Panko Bread crumbs = ½ box

Peanuts = 5 jars

Date Paste = 1 2lb bag

Raisins = ½ carton

Brown Sugar = 1 peanut jar full

White Sugar = ½ 4lb bag (plenty)

Cocoa Powder = about 34oz (1 23oz unopened container plus 2 open containers)

Dark Chocolate Chips = 1 open bag, 1 unopened bag

Unsweetened Coconut = 1 10oz bag

Taco Shells = 2 boxes

Tofu = 12 boxes (Amazon sells it by the 12-pack)

Pumpkin = 2 boxes

Boxed Milk = 2qt boxes

Dry Milk = 2 envelopes plus 2 unopened boxes

Baking powder

Baking Soda

 

 

PASTA & NOODLES

Rotini = 1.5lbs

Penne = 3 1lb boxes

Farfalle = 3 1lb boxes

Orzo = 1 1lb box

Linguine = 3.5 lbs

Angel Hair Spaghetti = 2.5lbs

Spaghetti = 4lbs

Whole Wheat Spaghetti = 1 open box (not excited about this)

Rice Noodles = little bit left

Long Udon noodles = ½ bag

Whole Wheat Egg noodles = 12oz bag (ok, I might not eat this😐)

 

BEANS & GRAINS

Red Kidney = 1 1lb bag dried

Pinto = 1.5lbs dried

Lentils = 2 1lb bags

Great Northern = 2 1lb bags dried

Chick Peas = 4 1lb bags dried

Black Beans = 3 1lb bags dried

Old Fashioned Oats = 1 open 42oz box, 1 unopened 42oz box

1 Minute Oats = 1 open 42oz box, 1 unopened 42oz box

Oat Bran = 1 18oz bag

Bob’s Red Mill Five Grain Hot Cereal = 1 16oz bag

Bob’s Seven Grain Hot Cereal = ½ 1lb bag

White Cornmeal = most of a bag

Chia Seeds = 1 bag

Wheat Bran = 1 8oz bag

Barley = 2 open bags (oops)

Popcorn = 3 2lb bags unpopped

 

OILS, VINEGARS, CONDIMENTS, ETC

Canola Oil = 4 48oz bottles

Sesame Oil = 1 16oz bottle

Coconut Oil = little bit

Extra Virgin Olive Oil = about 95oz (I REALLY like olive oil 😊)

Balsamic Vinegar = 1 open bottle

Red Wine Vinegar = 1 open bottle

Rice Vinegar = 1 open bottle, 2 unopen

Liquid Aminos = 1 open bottle

Lemon Juice

Lime Juice

Blackstrap Molasses = 1 16oz bottle

Molasses = 1 11oz bottle

Honey = 1 24oz jar

Tabasco sauce = 2 2oz bottles

Garlic = 1 open jar

Peanut Butter (no salt, no sugar) = 1 open jar

Peanut Butter Powder = a lot

Nutritional Yeast

Yeast = a lot

Pure Vanilla = 2 2oz jars

Mustard = 1 12oz bottle

Catsup, no sugar added  = 1 open bottle

Pesto = 2 jars

Marinated Artichoke Hearts – 1 large jar

Capers = 2 2oz jars

Peppercorns = 2 2oz jars

Kalamata Olives = 1 open jar

Green olives = 2 open jars, 4 unopened

 

FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Onions

Kiwis

Bananas

Cabbage

Lettuce

Oranges

Broccoli

Green Onions

Red Onion

Carrots

Although I have canned salmon & tuna, you may have noticed the absence of any meats, chops, chicken etc. I am a mostly vegetarian. I’m not hard core but rarely buy meat or poultry. I don’t buy frozen dinners or much that’s ready-made.  What’s missing and I need to buy are:

Non-fat, Plain Yogurt

Raisins (why has the price jumped so much lately?!)

Salsa

Flax seed

Black Olives

Black-eye Peas

Frozen fish fillets

Potatoes, any kind

 

 

 

 

 

Fond garden memories from childhood. Um, not really.

You know how you always read heartwarming stories of people’s memories of their mother’s or grandmother’s gardens? About those carefree, neverending days of summer when they ate fresh, crisp green beans off the vine or nibbled on just-picked strawberries? How they helped their mother or grandmother and were rewarded for their efforts with fresh treats? Well, my mother had a garden but I didn’t do any of that. I thought everything that came out of my mother’s garden was disgusting. She didn’t trust her younger children such as me to participate in the vegetable garden either, relegating them to lesser, joyless yard tasks like digging plantain leaf and dandelions out of the lawn or collecting gumballs by the hundreds. Heart-warming no?

I always remembered my mother having a vegetable garden and I always remember her complaining about it. The terrible soil, the hard work, the marauding birds & squirrels, and so on. Gardening was not about pleasure. Most of the produce was subsequently canned (an arduous process my mother undertook each year in a hot kitchen) and eventually served limp and waterlogged with little or no seasoning. I’ll grant you I was a child and children aren’t typically known for their love of vegetables, but the way they were cooked sure didn’t help.

When one of us kids complained about  the taste of the vegetables at the dinner table my mother would invariably, defensively respond,

“That came from our garden!”

“It came from our garden” was supposed to be a conversation-ender, as if everything from the garden was above reproach.  Even the family salad, which, by the time it got to you at the table of many, was bitter leaves floating in the heavy-on-the-vinegar dressing at the bottom of the mud brown, chipped, ceramic bowl. Which you had to take.

I would be an adult, one who ate in restaurants and learned to cook, before I could appreciate vegetables, fresh ones in particular. The childhood associations had to wear off first and then I could find out for myself what vegetables were actually supposed to taste like. I simply didn’t know how good they go be. Other people helped. I didn’t know what a green pepper could taste like till a woman I knew offered me some from her garden when I was in my late twenties. I was reluctant, based on the lip-curling memory of the taste of uncooked peppers (why that one was served without the usual overcooking I couldn’t say), when she assured me that I should try it cooked as it became “a different vegetable.” It was true. Proper cooking took the edge off the pungent raw green pepper taste.

Over the years I tried more and more vegetables and was often surprised. Of course, a number of these were never served at our family dinner table, certainly nothing too exotic. I tried okra for the first time about five years ago. Wow! I loved okra. Who knew?

My mother considered me a “picky eater” and it took many years of eating foods not cooked or served by my mother (vegetables may have been a low point but it’s not like the rest of the cuisine was delicious) to discover I was, if not the opposite, definitely not picky. There was a world of food and vegetables to discover and I now consider them one of life’s true joys.  I’ve never lived anywhere I could have my own full-blown vegetable garden, but I am delighted by the small amount of food gardening I’ve been able to do. There’s such pride in growing things, food especially.

Vegetables, mostly from the store, have made regular appearances in this blog’s four+ years. Here’s a few.IMG_20180619_125250

 

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NOTE: I’m back to sketchy internet access; please forgive any delay in responding to comments.

Mmmm, cook for me

You know who I want to cook for me? Canadian chef Michael Smith. I never heard of him until the last year when I’ve turned on the TV and flipped around (or rather pressed) the channels and occasionally came across his show “Chef at Home” where he is cooking in his (very nice) house. That kitchen!! Be still my covetous, hungry heart. He has this pantry stocked with glass jars filled with every kind of seasoning or extra you might want. There are always fresh ingredients in his refrigerator. He never opens something up, sniffs, and says, “What was THAT?” before tossing it in the garbage.

He talks about food and cooking while he works and makes it all sound so accessible. I can cook but I don’t want to go to a lot of trouble. He, on the other hand, always makes a proper meal with several sides AND a dessert. In the shows I’ve seen he is usually cooking for his wife and little son, Gabe. (Gabe eats the food happily and doesn’t throw tantrums or spit it out although editing might have a hand in that.) The food looks wonderful and did I say I love the way he talks about it? He’s practically giddy over the dishes (just like I’d be).

It isn’t that I want to be on a DATE with Michael Smith while he cooks for me (it’s not like that); I just want him to cook for me.

I only noticed last week that the shows I’ve been watching are from 2005! So when I googled him now to see who he is and look him up on Facebook, I was surprised to see this guy with a graying beard. But then, 11 years have passed. It threw me off though not unlike when I was a kid and watched Shirley Temple films – I was really surprised to learn she was this older lady named “Shirley Temple Black.”

I would not have guessed Smith was Canadian; he’s got a Seattle kind of vibe about him or maybe California (although the house and grounds looked vaguely like New England to me). He reminds me, in looks and demeanor of the character John Corbett played on Northern Exposure, the laid-back DJ guy, although Smith isn’t so laid back as that. Anyway, apparently he’s quite famous. So I don’t think he will cook for me.

Michael

Easy Squash & Red Pepper Soup

The rule of thumb for vegetables is that the deepest, richest colors – dark green, deep red, bright orange – are the most nutritious. I used two, squash and red peppers, to make this easy, no-cook, delicious soup.

I only recently discovered that squash is sold frozen, which is great if you don’t have time, space, or inclination to buy and cook your own. Here’s the ingredients I used:
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I used these canned peppers but you could buy fresh ones and cook them too.

I used these canned peppers but you could buy fresh ones and cook them too.

I cut up half an onion and a clove of garlic and sautéed them in a bit of oil.

I cut up half an onion and a clove of garlic and sautéed them in a bit of oil.

I put a cup of water in the blender, added the defrosted squash, 5 rinsed red peppers, and the sauteed onions & garlic, and blended till smooth. I heated a cup of the soup in the microwave to eat. That’s it! So good.

Look how gorgeous that color is.

Look how gorgeous that color is.

A Healthy Microwave Brownie (anyone can make – really!)

Recently I saw a recipe for a microwave brownie on a a blog. It had a lot more sugar & oil than I use in my diet and baking, but it gave me the idea to experiment with making a healthier version that I’d still actually want to eat. If you’re used to typical brownies, this much less sweet version will be an adjustment, but if you’re like me and don’t want or have a lot of sugar or sweets in your diet, this brownie is a treat.

The ingredients are all typically found in the baking aisle of the grocery store:
Whole wheat flour
Canola oil
Cocoa powder
Cinnamon
(Sugar)

It’s not essential to buy the specific brands pictured. I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa but the regular cocoa is fine too.
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You’ll need a (microwave-safe) small bowl or a cup, and a spoon. I use an oversize mug.
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And a quarter cup water.
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Mix together in the bowl or cup:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
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Stir in till smooth:
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
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Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
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I like to eat mine right out of the cup, but here’s how it looks on a plate.
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Close-up.
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An even healthier version, pictured below, can be made by omitting the Canola oil and/or cutting back on the cocoa powder to 1 or 2 teaspoons.
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