Sunday, November 10, 2019

Food Prep Nov 10-15: Peppers, peppers, peppers, and soup

By Elizabeth Prata

I got lucky and happened to hit the mark-down section in the produce area just right, and came away with a 99-cent bag of red peppers and a 99-cent bag of small variously colored peppers, also a 99-cent papaya.

I'm roasting all the peppers. The colored small peppers will be put into a vegetable soup. The red peppers will become part of a salad I've been enjoying lately: tomato, mushrooms, and Italian dressing. Adding the red peppers will make it like an antipasto. I might get some olives to put in, too.

The veggie soup will have some quinoa in it for the protein, also carrots, celery, and broccoli. Chick peas for fiber.

I obtained a marked-down bag of broccoli slaw, and that will be turned into a stir-fry with tofu and sweet and sour sauce. And that's plenty for the week!

Breakfast: Oatmeal, fried egg on 5" hard taco chip

Lunches: Soup, turkey sandwiches. Fruit: grapes, papaya, banana.

Dinner: salmon with baked potato and broccoli; stir fry, refried bean taco salad with avocado. Scrambled eggs with veggies; thawed lentil burgers I'd put in the freezer at last week's food prep.

Snacks/Dessert: peanuts, pumpkin pie.

As far as I know this is all FODMAP friendly and should present no issues upon consumption!

Have a good week everyone :)

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Saturday Update

By Elizabeth Prata

So far today on this sunny, crisp Fall Saturday, I've written a blog essay, answered email and comments online, did 2 loads of laundry, did the dishes, listened to Francis Schaeffer's "How Then Should We Live" video part 1, listened to Ligonier Q&A with Nathan Bingham and John MacArthur, re-potted my succulents and refreshed the patio area, cut up a papaya and nectarines for the week, had a nap, and I'm about to read the Bible and journal and study for the afternoon. Here is the scene outside-

Happy Saturday in the November chill!

By Elizabeth Prata

Good morning! It's a chilly one here (finally) in north Georgia. Temperatures are below freezing, the day has dawned crisp and bright, and all is well. Fall leaves are still on the trees but are slowly dropping, while the peeking sun is illuminating them, under a blue-blue sky. Here is the scene:

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Happy Saturday!

By Elizabeth Prata

It finally got cold. Overnight temps were in the upper 30s and highs only got to 65. Yay. It was the first day I bundled up in leggings, oversize sweatshirt, socks and threw another blanket on my bed. Winter's here.

I've been on Fall Break from school. I got home Wednesday night after grocery shopping, and closed the door, and here I stayed. Sadly, I woke up last night with a temperature and aches with stomach issues. How can that be? I have not talked with or interacted with anyone since 5:00pm Wednesday, and it's Saturday morning now. Sigh. I'd planned to bundle up and go out and do some errands in the crisp day. But I guess not! I just hope the fever breaks early enough so I can attend church and small group tomorrow.

Being at home, I am using some of the gizmos I've bought over the years. I try not to succumb to impulse buying. I buy what I need and what I think I'll use.  Sometimes I'm wrong, and I don't end up using some of the things I buy as much as I thought I would. Thankfully, those missteps are few. Here are some things I have bought recently that I use every day, and that I LOVE! These two items truly do make life easier for me.

When I got the book Biblical Doctrine, the systematic theology book by John McArthur & Richard Mayhue, it weighed 4 and a half pounds and is over 1000 pages. Heavy to hold up. It is 2.3 inches thick, and it was hard to peer over its thickness to read the top of the page. So I bought this upright book holder from Amazon. The description of the book holder said 'holds law books' which are typically thick and heavy. So, I bought it and it holds both my thick Biblical Doctrine book, also my study Bible, a huge tome in itself, as well as slim little paperbacks like this one. It allows me to be hands free, also, to sip tea or make notes in my journal.

You can adjust the height of the holder to various levels. It folds up flat, is light but well-made, and I store it under the table where I study. I LOVE this gizmo:

blog gizmo

I love tea. During the cold seasons when I get home from school I can't make a pot of tea fast enough. Fortunately, this electric kettle boils a large volume of water fast and it comes out hot. It re-boils it fast too, if I want a refill. It keeps it warm for a while, too, and has an automatic shut off. I've used this gizmo almost every day and I love it. It has not failed me yet. It was not expensive, either.

blog kettle

Ginger turmeric tea, coming up:

blog tea

I tell you truly that my cat has a lot of places he is allowed to lounge. He can go anywhere and everywhere in the apartment except the kitchen counter and the couch. He can go on the bed, chairs, even my table where I read and study. But he chooses this? He loves the little places.

blog murray

Cats are funny!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A sloffee day!

By Elizabeth Prata

Let me set the scene. It's raining hard, and it has been for a day. The metal awnings plink and ping as the rain goes from sprinkle to gushing stream. The dark is dark, almost palpable, as the outside gloom isn't relieved by any hint of any sun on any horizon.

Inside, the coffee pot perks and ticks. Medium roast coffee streams through the little hole into the waiting pot. My mug is warming with hot water soaking inside, waiting for the real liquid, the brown nectar. It will be a slow coffee day. Not gulping, not hurrying, but relaxing at the table, holding the mug between warming hands, sipping over hours instead of swigging over minutes, staying at home instead of rushing to work.

The humidity is hanging on, this rain seems to be the last hurrah of the long summer season. As the rain dwindles to a sprinkle over the day as it is predicted, the cool air will finally rush in. That will be a relief. When it finally reveals itself the sky will be clear, no haze hanging between the endless blue and my appreciative eyes. At night I'll see the Big Dipper glittering over the garage when I open my door. The Little Dipper hangs over the house. If I reach up I can touch them.

Let the Fall Break from school begin. Four days at home, enjoying these and other small and great pleasures. Slow coffee. Glittering stars. Snoring kitty. Pile of magazines. Tower of books. Crafting. Sermons, music, cooking. Naps.

Many of my friends are going camping, others are on a romantic getaway in the mountains. Others plan to catch up on errands, jaunting around with their kids, laughing and singing in the car. Me, I am in hermit mode, living quiet and plain, but full and happy.

During my grocery shopping yesterday I decided to try an experiment. I saw Nova Lox salmon trimmings on sale again. Kroger doesn't always have the trimmings, but when they do I love a good lox and bagel. Being gluten free, bagels have been off the table, literally. Being dairy intolerant, so has cream cheese. This was a loss. This week I'd decided to try some different gluten free products, expanding my G-F shelf from solely Kroger bread, to trying some other breads. I bought Canyon Ranch bread since it was on sale. Also Ener-G gluten free bread. I will compare.

Is there a dairy free cream cheese? Yes, Kroger now has two. As far as I know they didn't used to have any, so it's nice to have a choice. They are each $5, but I decided to try one. Lox on toast with 'cream cheese' coming up.

In that vein I also decided to try a lactose-free yogurt. Again, they are $5, most G-F and lactose free items are very expensive, and these were no different. But the individual servings cost less and will give me an idea of which brands I might like. I bought Califia Farms lactose free strawberry yogurt. It tastes fine, but is the consistency of milk, not the thick yogurt we all know and love. But sometimes I like to finish a meal with a fruit salad with a bit of yogurt. This will be OK, I guess, will I try a different one that is maybe thicker. Experiences in culinary adventures, for sure.

I watched a movie on Netflix last night. I am going to have to switch to pure fantasy movies, I think. All character-driven movies, at root, are a search for meaning. Since Hollywood produces God-free movies, the characters' search is ultimately fails. The movie was I'll See You In My Dreams. It is a quiet, serene, character study of an older woman (Blythe Danner, filling the role beautifully) whose aged dog has to be put down. This causes her loneliness to increase. Her husband had died in a plane crash 20 years ago and she retired from teaching just after the tragedy. Ever since, she has been potting around her garden, playing bridge with her three friends (who all live in an upscale retirement home) and going for walks alone.

What is life for? She placed the ashes of her dog on the mantel next to her husband's urn, and pondered her days. She makes unlikely friends with the pool man, and a man at the retirement home (Sam Elliott, who I LOVE) asks her out, and she begins reconnecting with her daughter. She starts a new routine and things look up- for a while. She seems on the upswing until a third item is seen next to the ashes of her other two, and now what? She and her friends plan a cruise to Iceland, and play another hand of bridge. Is this living? What's it all for?

It was a beautifully done movie and clean, but ultimately unsatisfying because it depicts in real time, that there is no meaning outside of God. Not even for entertainment. The unsaved search and search but there is nothing new under the sun. Ultimately, movies where the acting mimics real life are sad because it starkly brings home the search for meaning where there is none, unless the movie is a Christian film.

I'll have to find a genre that is so outside of real life that the movie doesn't fill me with sadness for the futility of life by the end. Cartoons? I wish there were more movies like Up and Inside Out and Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Or maybe I'll try to get into a superheroes movie. Old movies! That's the ticket! Classics. Only problem is, when I turn to Netflix in the genre classics, all the classics in the first tier are movies I originally saw when they came out, lol. Groundhog Day, Schindler's List, Indiana Jones, Rocky, ...all still fresh in my mind despite they being 25-40 years old. I guess I need to go back farther for the real "classic" movie.

I used to love movies. I bought Roger Ebert's movie review books every year, scoured the newspaper for new releases in the independent and foreign categories, was thrilled with VCRs came out and spent a lot of time at Blockbuster. Yes, I am that old.

I'm listening to Chopin channel on Pandora, contemplating making poached eggs on G-F waffles, and sipping my coffee. Four days at home, how lovely.

I hope you all have a great day, whether it is working day or rest day or busy day, or whatever kind of day. Because you know? It's all good under the Son.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Food prep: Week of October 28, Hippeas, baba ganouj, reading

By Elizabeth Prata

I didn't do any food prep last week. Sometimes you just get tired of it, you know? I also had a temporary crown on my broken molar and it hurt. I didn't feel like eating much.

This week will be a bit different than usual because we have a Fall Break from school starting on Thursday. I'll only be at work for 3 days. This week I did some cooking on Saturday and I'll finish the rest today.

Baked fish. Some white sole was on sale for 97 cents. Three fillets, so, 33 cents each. I baked them along with other stuff I was putting in the oven. Remember, the oven takes a lot of electricity, so if it's on, don't use it for just one thing. Stuff the oven with all ya got.

I roasted some butternut squash. I halved them, scooped out the seeds and strings, brushed each side with oil, sprinkled salt and pepper and cut side down, roasted them till soft. When cooled, I peeled and put into a container for later. They will be a nice side dish. Or, I might try making butternut squash pancakes.

I poked three small eggplants and put them in the oven whole. They are the last 3 my friend at church gave me from his and his wife's garden. When a knife goes through them easily, they are done. I let them cool and peeled the skin. Later I'll make baba ganouj, a Middle Eastern eggplant dip.

I also put in a gluten free pizza and ate that for breakfast and for lunch yesterday. :)

Later I'll make chicken salad. Kroger has picked, roasted chicken for sale in tubs, and I like that it's clean and I don't have to mess with cleaning a whole chicken or handling a raw one to cook. I'll also make chicken and vegetable soup for lunches.

Dinners: Baked fish fillets, butternut squash, baked potatoes. Also, I picked up some seafood salad and that will go on toast with a side salad. So this week proteins are the usual eggs, and chicken, fish, seafood salad, and one serving of leftover tofu (I'll stir fry with rice sticks and broccoli). I put a fried egg on top of a spaghetti squash with tomatoes and it was good. I think a fried egg goes good on anything.

Lunches: chicken salad, soup, fruit. I have strawberries and kiwis and some mandarin oranges this week.

Snacks: fruit, pumpkin seeds (loaded with protein and good for low FODMAP), Hippeas which are chick pea puffs I found on reduced sale, soy nuts.

Speaking of Hippeas, a bag containing 12 snack sized bags was on sale for $2.49. That brings each bag to 20 cents. That is a great price for a snack item. I like to spend no more than $1 for a protein serving,20-30 cents on a piece of fruit, and about 20-25 cents per snack. If you break it down like that I find it helps manage the budget.

I bought two bags of Hippeas. I brought one to school and left one at home.

I liked them, and they are gluten free and low FODMAP. Only 12 net carbs and 6 grams protein. Win! I never find gluten free stuff this inexpensive. So I looked them up online and they are massively expensive. The same bag of 12 on Amazon sells for $20. Kroger sells it for $16.

This week I see the bags are on reduced sale again, BUT, it was a bag of 6, not 2, for $3.50, not $2.50, bringing each small snack portion from 20 cents to 58 cents. Someone got wise. I am glad I bought the two bags when I did. Lesson: when you see an item you suspect to be normally expensive (like GF products always are), buy them and buy a stockpile there and then.

For my 4-day school break I plan to read. I got Beautiful Swimmers from the library. When I was living aboard our sailboat and cruising through the Chesapeake, the book was recommended. It's about the Chesapeake watermen, as the oyster and crab fishermen of that region are called. I guess since I've waited 20 years to fulfill that recommendation, it's time to actually read the book! I got it from the library on inter-library loan. (free!)

I noticed I had slowed down on reading so I made another reading schedule. It is so easy to come home and veg out, watching mindless TV (Current fave: Flipping Boston, a home renovation show). My schedule isn't as demanding as in the summer, obviously, since I am working now and am legit tired when I arrive home. So I eased up my normally aggressive reading schedule a bit but did put a schedule on the fridge, minus a page number count, just as a reminder of which book I want to read more of that day.

Saving Cinderella by Faith Moore
The Believer's Joy, M'Cheyne
Margaret Paton Letters
Selina Duchess of Huntingdon
Biblical Doctrine, JMac
Idols of a Mother’s Heart by Christina Fox
Internet Inferno by Michael John Beasley
The Vanishing Conscience, JMac
Beautiful Swimmers: The Chesapeake Watermen

Some of these are books from summer I have not finished. Time to get them read, and not let 20 years go by! For I do not know what tomorrow holds!

Here are the winners of the The Winners Of 2019's Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Competition Have Been Revealedcontest, they are cute and funny!

And the winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography competition

Have a wonderful week ahead everyone!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Frugal Cooking: Scallops, pea greens, tomato and avocado

By Elizabeth Prata

I posted this photo of my dinner with commentary on Twitter and Facebook:

Bay scallops sauted in lemon butter, atop a bed of pea greens, with garden tomato and avocado topped with salt and pepper.

It looks good to me, and I hope to you. Light, fresh, maybe even expensive.

Here is why it wasn't. It was a frugal dinner.

The scallops were $8 per pound. I bought a quarter of a pound for $2, and split them into two meals. I try to keep my proteins to $1 per serving.

The pea greens were part of a huge tub on sale that also contained baby spinach and baby kale. It's called protein greens. As you might know, if there is a sale sticker on it, I buy it. I had never had pea greens before but it didn't matter, I buy what's on sale and worry about liking the item later. It turned out I loved the pea greens and I look for the sale sticker every time I go now. $2 and I'm in. Normally it's twice that price so that was a great deal. I used about 30 cents' worth to put under the scallops.

The tomato was a garden tomato with juice and taste just this side of heaven, and was a gift from a friend. Free.

The avocado was part of the regular sale at Kroger, one of the produce items on markdown in the red net bag. Those cost 99 cents for anything in them, and in this case it contained three huge Florida avocados. I used 1/3 of the avocado. At 33 cents per avocado but using only a third of it, it cost 10 cents on the plate.

Throw an estimate of using about 20 cents' worth of butter and negligible amount of lemon juice to saute the scallops, and that concludes the cost per plate portion of the roundup.

The total cost of the meal was about $1.75.

I didn't plan ahead, I had the scallops and time restrictions for using up fresh fish governed my choice of the scallops for dinner tonight. When I was given the tomatoes today I determined to eat one of them immediately! I looked around the fridge and counter and thought what would be good paired with tomato. I wanted to keep the tangy deliciousness alive and not cook the tomato nor drench it in salad dressing. I saw the avocado, which also has a short shelf life, and decided the creaminess would be good with the tang of the tomato.

Finally, just adding scallops to a plate isn't all that appetizing. They are manila and drab looking. So I threw some greens on the plate for color and crunch. That's literally how I came up with the dinner for tonight.

Use what you have. Use what will go stale first. Don't be afraid to cook without a recipe. Also don't be afraid to buy what's on sale and figure out what goes with what later.

This was a good, light, inexpensive but satisfying dinner. Buon appetito!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

My week, and food prep for Oct 14-18

By Elizabeth Prata

Happy Fall!

Last school week as a weird one. We had teacher workday on Monday which I look a sick day, and Tues-Wed were half days for the kids. I took a personal day Tuesday to get my gas heat turned on for the winter. The rule is now that you have to be at home to let the guy in. No more leaving the key under the mat and let the guy come do it alone.

So I didn't really do food prep because I knew I'd be home two days. I made a lentil soup on Tuesday to get me thru on Wednesday and Thursday and on Friday I go do new grocery shopping anyway. I'm usually so glad it's Friday I don't care what I eat by then, lol.

This week I've got scallops which I'll saute up in butter and lemon. I'll serve that with a green protein leaf salad: this mixture of greens at Kroger is made with organic sweet pea leaves, baby spinach, baby bok choy leaves, baby kale, mizuna. I really like the pea leaves. I score some orange cherry tomatoes which will go into the salad.

In my continuing bonanza of lentils my friend gave me I'll try to make some lentil burgers this week instead of soup. I've never been successful with making bean burgers except with this one recipe for black bean burgers. But I'm gonna try!

I also got a load of fruit: a bag of clementines, some trays of blackberries for 99 cents, yay, and strawberries. Hummus will figure into the mix, with gluten free crackers.

Last week there was a marked down case of seltzer water for $1.59. I have been getting into liters of carbonated water, but it goes flat before I drink it. So I took a chance on the case and boy, I really like the fizzy water. I like sour too, so the seltzer doesn't bother me. There aren't any extra ingredients, no sodium or anything, so this week I bought the case at the full price. I'm constantly drinking it. I'm going to have to budget an extra $2.79 per week for this seltzer water.

Turkey slices were also on sale so I got some for lunch sandwiches. That's about it for food prep. I'll let you know how the hunt for the holy grail of edible bean burger recipes goes.

There are a number of things that make me happy, small things. But I live a small life in a small apartment, so it matches.

My landlord is thoughtful. When he swapped out the garage doors for new ones, he realized the location of the handle would make it unreachable for me when raised. So he added a short rope. After a number of years of pulling, last week the rope finally wore through and broke off. Forgetting this, I came home, raised up the door, drove the car in, and turned to reach for the rope. Oops, the door handle was out of reach. Looking around the garage, I found a half of a curtain rod, you remember, the metal ones with the curve on the side. I used that for a week but it was unwieldy to pull when you're carrying things, and I'm always carrying things. So I put on my thinking cap. I did not want to buy a whole length of rope for only one foot. But I do have zip ties! I strung together a few of those and voila. Solving my little issue made me happy.

I love a full fruit bowl. I love fruit so it feel good to have a bounty. It makes me feel rich. Fruit makes me happy

Mid-century mod Ben Siebel Iroquois pottery Harvest Time serving pieces
During the 1950s, Iroquois introduced a line called Informal by industrial designer Ben Seibel that had a round shape with "a stretched look." Each piece was decorated in either a two-tone white with solid color (with or without design decals) or in plain white with decals. The set consisted of approximately 25 pieces and included patterns such as Blue Diamonds, Sleepy Hollow, Steller, Teuton, Tiara, Rosemary, Lazy Daisy, Harvest Time, Old Orchard and Bombay-Green. The colors in the collection were earthy and bright and included mustard, apricot, avocado yellow, blue, bean brown, nutmeg, cantaloupe, charcoal, dark-green, lemon, lettuce green, oyster, pink, red, turquoise and white. The ware was "flameproof for cooking," a new concept in dinnerware.
I also LOVE my Iroquois mid-century bowl and I love to actually use it. Mine is Harvest Time pattern. Mid-century pottery and design makes me happy.

Regular readers know I love hot tea. In the cool fall and winter months I drink lots. I like a variety. My acquisitions this week included Honey Lavender which I got for way reduced price on Amazon warehouse deals. The Warehouse is damaged but still usable items, like the box the item was in is dented, or something minor, not affecting the actual item. But the slight damage means the store can't sell it as "new," so they mark it down and put it in the warehouse. Look for "Warehouse Deals" at the very bottom of the landing page at Amazon. That's why the tea has a sticker on it that it has been inspected.

I also got the ginger turmeric for free using my accumulated points. The Throat Coat is delicious and really smooth on the sore throat. I picked that up this summer when it was on sale at Kroger, knowing I'd need it this fall when the inevitable sinus infection arrives with the kids at school.

Getting deals on tea makes me happy.

As for my tea selection, well...nuff said!

I love tea, lol. A stocked tea bar is a pleasure to me.

I cant say the following exactly makes me unhappy, but it certainly makes me sad for the person. Seen at the grocery store last week:

This person had as many liberal bumper stickers as you could find on any car. Liberal candidates, liberal icons, liberal slogans from liberal fake news...but the one about Jesus caught me the most.

"Do you honestly think Jesus would own a gun and be a Republican?" Well, in one sense no. He was above political parties. He was not of this world. On the other, He certainly would not be a Democrat, all for killing babies. As for the gun, the disciples always carried weapons. We know that Peter did, he lopped off Malchus' ear in the Garden of Gethsemane. They weren't to use them as weapons as a default, but to have them was normal. Swords could be used for cutting wood, cutting food, or brandishing for self-defense, but certainly Jesus would not contradict His stance on the heinousness of offering babies to Molech as a Democrat.

Oh well, people are funny. They hold funny notions.

How was your week?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Very Brady Renovation: 70s design

By Elizabeth Prata

A very Brady Renovation is a new show on HGTV. Apparently the home in Los Angeles used for exterior shots-only for the 5-season TV show went on sale for the first time in 45 years. Amazingly, there was a great deal of intense interest in the home, and a huge bidding war ensued. HGTV got it.

The Brady Bunch TV show is celebrating its 50th year since its debut season in 1969. Can you believe it? I can't. I was 8 1/2 when the show first aired, and it's weird to think I can remember things that happened half a century ago.

I liked the show well enough, as a child it captured my interest because of the storylines involving issues of interest to kids: sibling rivalry, character building, and responsibility within the family.

When HGTV heard "The Brady House" was for sale, they decided to buy the home and renovate it. The interior we all saw on TV was simply a set that a set designer dreamed up, and bears no resemblance to the actual home's insides. The set was a two story home, with the famous floating staircase joining the lower and upper floor. The actual home has no second story! So the HGTV folks had to build one. Further, the home isn't large, not for all the rooms that the Brady set designer dreamed up, so HGTV constructed an addition in the back (so as to keep the front exterior aspect the same.)

The episodes I've seen so far focus on scrounging, making, or crowd-sourcing exact replicas of everything in the home, down to the glass cluster of grapes on the living room coffee table and the fluffy giraffe in the girls' room. In that way, they focus some on design of the era.

Now. The design. Sigh.

I'm not a fan of 70s design. I much more enjoy seeing the sleek, linear, and symmetrical lines of mid-century modern. That era extended from 1933 to 1965, though some say the design height of that period was confined to 1947 to 1957.

The clunky, chunky 70s design era was filled with barrel shaped end tables, lots of paneling, heavy stonework (usually on chimneys), and gasp! avocado and burnt orange kitchens. I wonder who thought up the avocado trend...

My first home was a raised ranch with a modern contemporary design inside, sprinkled with a few antiques. The antiques I had were sleeker with no fru-fru scrollwork, so they fit in with the modern design. Then when I got married we lived in a 'camp'. This was a seasonal cabin or small home n a lake. It's what we called these seasonal homes in Maine. We winterized it and moved in.

The cabin was built in 1953. When I moved in during the late 1990s the interior still sported the original kitchen clock, the propane, rounded top fridge, knotty pine paneling on the walls (which didn't make the room dark because the three walls facing the lake sported bay windows) and the overstuffed puffy couch with huge pattern. We even had a 1950s Electrolux vacuum, lol. It weighed a ton.

I liked the 1950s style. The style I'm living in now is kind of an eclectic Boho. A mishmash that kind of works. Mainly because this furniture is what I've ended up with or been given, so that's what I have, lol.

I lived through the 70s and I wasn't a fan of the design then and I'm not now. But it's nostalgic for me and I'll tell you why.

When I was born me and my parents lived in an apartment above the family business in the city of Providence. My parents' goal was to buy a home in the suburbs. They found a 100 year old Cape Cod-style farmhouse (1860s) in a nice town and 4 acres came with it. Perfect. Also a chicken barn in the back. The farmhouse was typical of the 1800s construction, small, lots of smaller rooms, a fireplace in each room, and an add-on of a kitchen in the back that was so small only 1 person could work in there at a time. Upstairs was two large bedrooms rooms with sharply sloping ceilings typical of the Cape Cod style, a bathroom and a small closet that was turned into a nursery when my sister came along.

It was fine for a while, with a small child and a baby (my brother that came soon after). However when I was 10 years old they decided to renovate the chicken barn out back, move into it, and rent the house. This was in about 1970.

The chicken barn was 90 feet long. My father designed the home to his aesthetic which meant the living room and dining area comprised the main part of the home, and was all open. The room was about 50 feet long. Red brick adorned the back wall, and along the two sides were sliding glass doors and huge windows. The ceiling was rustic, rough-hewn cedar beams along cathedral ceilings. The ceiling hung with black wrought iron chandeliers with light bulbs that looked like candles. There was a five foot wide fireplace with concrete floating hearth, and massive stones lining the chimney up to the chalet-like ceiling. Since the room was so big the massive concrete and stone fireplace didn't overwhelm the room.

Red shag carpeting. An octagonal dinging table with swivel barrel chairs. A galley bar with high barrel stools matching the dining table. It looked like a ski lodge and was dark, despite the windows all along the side.

I liked the openness of the plan and I love the cedar, stone, and brick. I do like natural materials. I even loved the concrete hearth. I wish I had polished concrete floors or a concrete kitchen counter. I like the look of polished concrete.

Anyway, "The Barn" (what we called our home forever after)  was a unique design but was totally unworkable for a family. There was no tub. The kitchen had a stove and fridge but no sink, the only sink was in the galley kitchen-bar. And it was small. It's also where the dishwasher was. Not enough bedrooms for the sisters and brother, the brother slept in the attic (which he loved). But he had to go through the sisters' room to get to the attic ladder, which they hated. A Jack-and-Jill bathroom connecting the living room and the sisters' bedroom. Awkward. Dark, heavy, very male design which the wife disliked. She always said it was like living in a chalet. It was really suitable for a bachelor and indeed that is who my father sold the home to 40 years later.

Anyway, as I watch the Brady House renovation and they design the stone walls inside the home and add the paneling and the brick, install shag rugs, and place barrel-shaped end tables adorned with clunky lamps, it is all very familiar to me because I lived in that aesthetic from age 10 to 14. Also included in the 70s aesthetic were bold prints of flowers in bright colors, yellow (The Brady House has yellow tile backsplash in the bathroom), macrame plant holders (Macrame is just a dust catcher to me), rattan, and disco-glitz.

If I was forced to choose a 70s design it would me Mary Tyler Moore's apartment, with the gold velour couch, stained glass kitchen over hang, beige shag rug, and cream tulip table with rattan chair by the sliding glass doors.

The renovation show does bring back a lot of memories, both of my own life in living that design era and the Brady Bunch show itself. Can you believe The Brady Bunch is 50 years old? The lead actors who played the mom and dad (Florence Henderson and Robert Reed) have passed away. The maid, Ann B. Davis, has also passed on. But all 6 actors who played the kids are alive and all 6 participated in the reno show.

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, nostalgia has become a big business. The ratings for A Very Brady Renovation are through the roof. As an aging Boomer, I know I'm interested. Apparently there will be a Christmas Special, too. LOL. Now, if only the actual design of the era was palatable, we'd be all set.

More on 70s design:

This Decade Is Slowly Taking the Design World by Storm

American Style Through the Decades: The Seventies

Seventies design trends and ideas

Sunday, September 22, 2019

All the prep

By Elizabeth Prata

Things are so much easier when it's cool out. Happy Fall.

I had energy this morning and decided to do all the prep at once. Here's what I did and why.

Broccaflower: was on the mark down shelf for 99 cents. The stem was a bit iffy and a couple of the points had dark spots. I just shave them off and cut the stem away. Voila, a $4 veg for 99-cents.

Chicken: also on markdown. Kroger has roasted chicken they pick and package I hate picking chicken, or even handling meat. It's a texture and gross-out thing. So when they mark down the clean chicken I'm all in. I just dump the chicken into the pot of sauteing veggies and I'm done.

Quinoa: Whenever I cook something I make extra. It saves time and electricity. I put some of the cooked quinoa in the soup. Although it's a grain (actually a seed) that packs a protein punch, it also packs a carb punch. Don't overdo. I saved aside the rest of the quinoa to have as morning cereal with fruit.

Greens: I can't resist a deal can I? The greens in the tub are chard, spinach, mizuna, and kale. It's a lot. But then again, if you cook them, they saute down to nothing. I ate some in salads, but then after a few days I needed to cook them before they went over. So I did, with on-sale mushrooms, salt, and a bit of lemon. I can add a scrambled egg to it, add some to the soup, or just have as a side dish at dinner.

Ocean Perch: This was a gamble. It was marked down (of course). No other fish available at the time I shopped was marked down. Shrimp and salmon are so expensive to buy not on sale, and the Kroger prepared crabcakes and stuffed scallops have bread crumbs in them. I'm not much of a fan of any other seafood So when the perch presented itself, several clean white looking fillets, I said what the hey, I'll try.

I dredged them in egg and gluten free flour and baked them alongside the broccaflower. They came out looking terrible. I almost threw them out. But then I tried a nibble on the end of one of the small filets. YUM. It is a delicate and tasty fish.

Carrots and Celery: I get home from school having carefully consumed my wonderful breakfasts, snacks, and lunch and I want to eat every carb in sight. Popcorn! Crackers! Peanut butter toast! Anything! Anything! So...I cut up celery and carrots to snack on. It will fill me up more and I do like the crunch.

Strawberries: On sale for $1.77. So I bought 2. I washed and cut them up for the week. I like to just dump some in my tupperware and go in the morning. I don't like preparing anything in the AM before work. Same for the Mandarin oranges. They are easy to peel but I still don't enjoy peeling. I peeled a few and along with the remainder of last week's grapes and this week's strawberries, made a fruit salad. I'll eat this first, because the grapes are the oldest fruit in the fridge.

Snacks at school: I caved in and got an Amazon Subscribe and Save Pantry. I'll have delivered each month, this 24-pack of nuts. I need to much on some proteins during the day because it's along time since breakfast at 6 am and lunch at noon. I can't have cheese sticks any more because of the lactose. I can't have boiled eggs any more (don't ask), I can have some fruits but they're limited due to FODMAP issues and not portable, meaning, I need to sit down and eat them with a spoon or fork, not always feasible in school. So, what snack? Nuts. They end up being about 31 cents per snack. 24 means one per day for the school month.

Planters Variety Pack 24 ct, Salted Peanuts, Honey Roasted Peanuts & Salted Cashews Ready-to-Go Sleeves, Multi-Pack Box

So, proteins: perch, eggs, chicken soup, tofu (since it keeps the longest it's on standby), quinoa, deli turkey.

Lunches: soup and turkey sandwiches on gluten free bread. I do put together the sandwich each morning, otherwise they get soggy. You do need a moisture barrier and the ingredients in the proper order. Also, soup.

Sides: broccaflower, greens

Dessert/Snacks: nuts, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, fruit. Also lactose free vanilla ice cream.

Healthy eating takes a lot of work and preparation. Also money, ergo my attention to sales. With my gluten, lactose, and Fodmap issues I need to ensure I do it right. If not, I'll get sick, and that is no fun!

Have a great week everyone. What's in your fridge this week?