Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rearranging the Fridge

My fridge is having issues this month.  It's still snowing in the freezer and the bottom refrigerated section is ....well, let's just say that it's having some mold issues.  I've been trying to ignore it for the last couple of weeks or so - I just haven't had the energy to tackle emptying the fridge and bleaching everything.  (Hey, you break your ankle and see what you let go, okay?)

But today, I woke with a song in my heart and pure adrenaline racing through my veins.  Of course, the cup of coffee I had this morning probably helped too.  ;-)  After changing beds, washing all of the bedding in the house (yes, even the blankets), bathing the kids, and vacuuming the floor, I set to work cleaning out the fridge.

The food was still in good shape - I've been trying to make sure I cycle new produce in and out of the house so we're always eating the oldest stuff first.  It was the actually fridge that needed scrubbing.

It seems that the extra moisture from the snow in the freezer has been melting down the back of the refrigerator compartment and pooling in the bottom of the fridge under the produce drawers, making a nice toxic sludge.  I donned my trusty yellow gloves to clean up that mess.  Then I emptied, bleached, and scrubbed the produce drawers and shelves and carefully washed and inspected the food.

While the plastics soaked in the tub, I tackled the actually body of the fridge.  Ugh.  Let's just say that it had been a while since I did such a deep clean of this appliance.  It made for some interesting discoveries.  Thankfully, with the cleaning power of bleach, the fridge is now spotless and completely rearranged.

Yes, you're seeing that right - the produce drawers are now on the shelves.  The thought of keeping my fruits and vegetables in an area that is now super-prone to mold growth seemed to be a really stupid thing to do.  Also, keeping the drawer area at the bottom open will hopefully allow air to circulate better in that area and help retard future growth.

You'll also notice that all of my leftovers are now on the top shelf.  That should help to remind me of what needs to be eaten or frozen.  The tan plastic tub holds our fruit - hopefully that will make it easier for the kids to grab a healthy snack.  And yes, the eggs (and the excess of green apples that keep showing up at my door - AUGH!) are now stored in the bottom where it "should" be the coldest.

I'm crossing my fingers that this arrangement, though strange as it is, will help us to keep food longer.

What do you think?  Any good suggestions or ideas?  Comment below!

Edited later to add - My friend, Mr. Google, and I diagnosed and fixed my fridge issues.  It seems that the drain in the floor of the freezer was blocked with ice.  It took about 15 minutes and 2 cups of water to fix the issue.  This should stop the water dripping down into the fridge - I hope!  Who says girls can't fix stuff!?!?!? 

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Kids' "Not Quite Paleo" Diet

I, "Gimp-Along Annie", have three different appointments to get to this morning, including a fun trip to physical therapy - ugh.  (Can you tell I'm thrilled?)  So, I crawled out of bed at 5:30 AM so I would have a few minutes of peace and quiet to check my email, drink some tea...and make a lot of food before the kids got up.

See, I have these nice friends who have offered to babysit for me on Fridays while I attend to my appointments.  Yah!  Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy!  To make life easier for them, I make the kids' breakfast and lunch and leave them in the fridge.

Now, as I've said before, my kids are not following a 100% Paleo diet BUT I have integrated a lot of the Paleo ideas into their meals. I limit their intake of processed foods, centering their diet more on proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables.  They do get some grain (oatmeal and 1 sandwich a day) but their intake is small when you compared it to what other kids get.

Here is today's menu:

Breakfast (left): 1.5 eggs - scrambled-fried, 1 banana, 1 GF Pumpkin-Oat muffin, GF Cherrios (thanks to a friend), and a small handful of raisins.  (My meal is usually eggs and fruit.)

They usually clean their breakfast plates within an hour and will demanding more food around 10 AM.  Their morning snack is usually a piece of fruit and / or a stick of string cheese.

Lunch (right): 2 hardboiled eggs for my daughter / PB&J sandwich for my son, 1 GF Pumpkin-Oat muffin,1 small handful of raisins, 1 small pear, and a selection of vegetables. (I usually warm up some leftovers or have tuna on celery.)

Note: My daughter usually get an egg salad sandwich but all we had this week was the tiny loaf of rye bread that a friend gave me and she hates rye...so she's eating hard boiled eggs instead.

For their afternoon snack they get a choice of fruit, air-popped popcorn, or cheese stick.

At my house, the kids' dinner is whatever I'm eating (Paleo-style food) plus a piece of fruit and any extra veggies I can find.  Since it's Friday, they're having dinner at their father's house which means it could be anything from spaghetti to roast beef.  (My ex does not follow a Paleo diet but he is trying to keep to homemade food whenever he can so it is an improvement.  He's the reason why I keep some wheat in the kids' diet - I'm afraid that if they went wheat-free, they'd get wheat sick every time they went to their father's house.)

Do your kids eat differently than you do?  What's your take on kids' diets?  Comment below!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lifehaker Article - Slice Your Own Steak

Just a quick stop before my Monday takes off to pass along this link to y'all -

Slice Your Own Steak @ LifeHacker.  

Years ago, pre-divorce, we used to do this - buy a "chunk of beef", bring it home, cut it down into cuts that we could use, wrap and store in the freezer for later yumminess.  I don't (or really can't) do this anymore - those chunks of beef just cost too much for my budget and I have very limited freezer space. 

You can find the beef at meat wholesalers, Costco, and places like Smart & Final.  Sometimes you can find a place that will actually butcher it down for you for a nominal fee, just in case you don't have the time or butchering skills, but the meat can cost more than places that don't.

Hope you have a great Monday!  ;-)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Freezer Cleaning Time!

Once a year, I get tired of the state of the freezer and decide to enact a moratorium on freezer items and make it a goal to eat through what's in there before I buy anything else to go into there. 

We are having one of those moment right now.  I enacted this moratorium two weeks ago after the chicken avalanched and tried to take the stack of ground beef with it.  I just took a big step back and let it all fall out.  I'm sure the neighbors in the apartment next door thought the world was coming to an end. 

I discovered some interesting things while I dig in there: a rogue ice cream bar that a friend lost in there, a bag of frozen vegetables (this is surprising because it's been almost a year since I bought frozen veggies), and a couple bags of what I think is "Greek Lima Bean Casserole" which I hadn't made in forever.  Oops!  ;-)

So, we're in freezer clean-out mode.  Some things get cooked and recycled back into the freezer - like the last six bags of frozen broccoli which were turned into Curried Cream of Broccoli and refroze for easy lunches or dinners when the kids aren't here.  The more interesting-looking meat and chicken were tossed into casseroles and soups to disguise any strange tastes they may have picked up

Remember! I hate to waste food!

And it's a good thing that the freezer is getting cleaned out.  It seems that the seal on the freezer compartment is going out and with all the rain we've been getting, the moist air is playing havoc with my freezer.  I opened it up yesterday morning to find snow banks gathering.

Good timing, huh?  It's going to take a while before this gets fixed - it seems that my landlord is ignoring me while we go through rent negotiations.  *sigh*  Isn't life fun?

When was the last time you cleaned out your freezer?  What do you do with your more interesting items?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is Paleo? It's All in Your Prospective!

Someone recently commented on this blog that I'm not following a true "Paleo" diet since I periodically eat potatoes, only buy commercially-produced fruit, veggies, and beef, and do not partake in coconut oil.  And let's not get into the "you're poisoning your children" because my kids do not follow a 100% Paleo Diet.

I deleted the comment but her words have stuck in my head for the last week.  So, I thought I'd take a moment to respond here, publicly, just in case others has the same concern. 

If you do a Google search, you'll find that everyone seems to have their own definition of what is and is not Paleo. People have morphed and evolved (yes, pun intended ;-)  ) the Paleo Diet to suit their needs and taste.  Some buy only organic or grass-fed fruit, veggies, and proteins.  Others have decided not to eat so much fruit to help regulate their weight.  A few have even figured out how to eat Paleo while on the run or traveling a lot - kudos to them!

My Paleo Diet revolved around whole foods with limited fruit and potato intake (I still have at least 10 more pounds to lose) and very limited sugar.  I don't eat anything out of a box (aka - processed foods).  I don't eat nuts (I gain weight when I eat them), beans, or grains,except for a rare treat made out of oatmeal.

I do not eat organic fruits and vegetables mainly because of budget constraints - hell, I can barely afford the conventionally grown ones these days!  The same goes for grass-fed beef and chicken and coconut oil.  When you're on a tight budget, these luxuries are just not possible!

Even though I "poison" myself with non-organic items (her words, not mine), my health still continues to improve.  I've lost 70 lb, finally bringing myself under the 200 pound mark, I have lots of energy, and my blood pressure has dropped from dangerous levels to "high normal". 

I'm a living example of what the Paleo Diet can do for you, even without the "curative properties" of organic or grass-fed.  ;-) 

And when it comes to my kids, I only have one thing to say - my kids, my rules.  Yes, they are not 100% Paleo.  They enjoy oatmeal, a piece of candy, or a slice of gluten-free goodie every once in a while.  I buy individually-wrapped string cheese from Costco to be used as a cheap and convenient snack for when we're on the go or to hold them over while I finish dinner.  And yes, they have one sandwich a day - an easy lunch and it keeps their tummies used to eating wheat so when they go to their dad's house, they don't get sick.

Oh yeah, I'm "poisoning" them.  *rolls eyes* 

So, to the person who made these comments (See how I'm keeping names out of it?  I'm so nice!) - I'm glad that you have the extra money in your budget to invest in your food like that but like a lot of people these days, I don't.  So, you follow your organic-lined path and I'll follow mine - I'm sure we'll both end up in the same place....