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Monday, September 8, 2014

shop till you drop survey

Originally posted 5-6-13.

Gonna geek my foodie obsession all over you guys in this one. Run screaming if you are on a diet.

1. What is your favorite way to shop? Online or in the actual store? 
I’ve been known to haunt any kind of shop far and wide that sells ~any~ kind of food, but I’ll definitely have it shipped in if I can’t find it locally. Got the most wonderful avocados that way. Click the pic to check it out.


I can tell already this survey is going to turn into a book, because I get excited about food history and the movement of food around the globe as goods and services (seriously, 4th grade, I have this textbook, I LOVE social studies, and now I own the huge A History of Food).

I think about food *all* *the* *time*, like when I’m watching Merlin, you think about people way back then not having the food we have nowadays and stuff. Well, apparently some fans got really picky about it and went to great lengths to point out to the show creators that Merlin couldn’t have eaten a sandwich or had tomatoes thrown at him in the stocks (from http://merlin-sceneit.livejournal.com/7781.html) to which the creators laughed and said Yeah, well, they didn’t have talking dragons back then, either… (commentary in this video)

My favorite meat counter is at Harter House, my fave fresh organic vegetables are at MaMa Jean’s Market, my fave place to buy bulk olive oil and butter and other pricey stuff is Sam’s Club, and my fave place to pick up locally produced foods is Heather Hill Farms. Since I’m working on this survey on Cinco de Mayo, here is one of my fave Weird Al fanvids. He’s a good one if you like food songs.




I love making pretty food that tastes good. One of the neatest tricks I learned was mixing a dash or two of smoked paprika into the breading mix before I bread and fry stuff, along with a dash of garlic powder, a dash of black pepper, and a sprinkling of something herbly like basil, thyme, rosemary, or oregano. Or all of them. Lightly salt the meat or veggies first, then dredge, then fry.

I sometimes think managers cringe because I ask so many questions, like where is the saffron and could they get any in for me, and they’re going what the heck is saffron… even though I live in a very ethnically diverse area. It used to be almost impossible to find smoked paprika in SW MO, too, and I know this because I hunted high and low through 15 stores across 3 towns. Well, thanx to the food channels making ethnic cooking more popular and the McCormick® Gourmet Collection making a new display, I can now find saffron in nearly every store I visit, including Walmart.


Now all I have to do is dress up like Nadia G while I cook…


My fave aisle is the baking stuff, flours and oils and all kinds of stuff for pies and cakes and cookies. Since I’m allergic to everything with nuts and citrus in it, even by association, I have had to learn to make everything from scratch, and I have to say I make the most delicious yellow cake I’ve ever tasted from a combination of recipes I hunted down on the internet. I’ve never seen another recipe quite like mine, and Scott has sworn off gourmet cupcake shops over it. One day I’ll share it. 

Speaking of cake, I was invited to Matthew Willson’s 40th birthday party!  And so was Ellen Dubin!  I know! If we were both going I could hang out with her! But alas, ’tis not to be. Friend Matt on facebook and follow his twitter. LikeEllen’s facebook fanpage and follow her twitter. (some of you coming back might notice I changed Ellen’s facebook link-here’s why)




So Matthew Willson produced and starred in an independent film called Skinning the Cat, and if you want to see him in other stuff here is a demo reel- caution for language and very brief male nudity (not Matthew), so do NOT watch this if you don’t like the rough stuff.




And which account do I use, while we’re at it? I’m notorious for paying with a baggy full of change just so I can clean out the coin bowl. Really going to miss those pennies when they finally revise them out of our monetary exchange system. I’m picky about my tea, too. If I forget that I’ve got a bag steeping and come back later, I throw it all out and start over. Went through half a box of tea bags one day because I was absorbed in something else I was doing.



Friend of mine on twitter has been in India with a group and told me it doesn’t matter how strong it gets there, you just milk and sugar it up and drink it!  You can read about her experiences there and follow Sarais_thoughts on Twitter.


I kind of am. When I see a really beautiful head of cauliflower it’s all I can do not to bring it home. Despite loving cauliflower, I think I throw more of that away than anything because I have way too much to eat. This song could be my cauliflower song if it rhymed with anything.




We’ve been through major debt because of medical bills, which I think a lot of people go through sooner or later. No matter how bad stuff gets, stick to someone. Don’t go through it alone. Lately one of my fave authors is facing massive medical debt because his son was in an accident. He made the coolest post on his facebook yesterday. If you’d like to keep up with updates you can also follow David Farland on Twitter.

I used to hit my favorite restaurants there quite a bit, but now that I can’t eat anything on the menu without risking a reaction, I hardly ever go any more. I drool over kitchens like this one since I’m in my own kitchen so much. :edit: Funny or Die is really possessive about this video, so it doesn't embed like a regular youtube. Clicking will take you to the correct vid on youtube, it's awesome. If you'd prefer to see it in it's natural Funny or Die setting, go here.




This actually happened.


And since I was having a slow brain day, I was a nidiot and said no thanx, I don’t play video games. ~DERP omg~ Ten seconds later I was going back begging for that key because I know sooooooo many people that DO. And I would have given it to you all right here because I’m that cool. Except now I suck because I was so dumb.

But that has nothing to do with food, you say. And I say I KNOW, so let’s go comfort ourselves with some junk food!  Here, look, I made another chocolate pie! Well, actually two since the last survey, the one with the pink meringue is me playing around trying to make it look like marshmallow strawberries, and the purple meringue was me playing around with how well I could make shapes. I think eventually I’ll be sculpting meringue like a pro.


         
                    

People are always asking me that about my coffee. We used to drive a couple of states north just to pick up Caribou coffee and a few other things once a year, but they’ve finally got it down here now at Target and Hy-Vee, thank goodness. Caribou Daybreak is Scott’s favorite. My favorite is Ozark Mountain Blend from Churchill Coffee. We mix them half and half for the most perfect coffee we’ve ever tasted, guess you could say it’s our own house blend.
    

My youngest is getting a LOT of oohs and ahhs over these baby shoes that came across the pond from Gems-Stones-Studs at Diddy by Design, and she can’t wait till her little girl is born and can get pictures made in them.  


This is a recipe going around facebook that I think would be precious to try at a baby shower, and super easy to make.
 photo pinkfudge.jpg

* STRAWBERRY FUDGE** :) 
INGREDIENTS:
1 16 oz can of strawberry frosting
1 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans
DIRECTIONS:
Lightly spray an 9×9 pan ( or a 9 x 13 pan for thinner bars ) with cooking spray.
Put chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl and melt them,( not letting them burn) You could also use a double boiler.
Stir in entire can of strawberry frosting.
Stir in pecans.
Spread into pan and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve.


I buy whatever I want wherever I see it if I have the money to spend, but since I’m about the least material person I know, that means I have more money available for nice food. I heard about this really rare white honey that comes from only one place in the whole world and had to try it. Volcano Island Honey




Not yet. What I’d *like* is to splurge on some more ceramic bakeware. I ~luv~ that stuff. It’s heavy like cast iron so it cooks more evenly than metal pans, and so much easier to clean up. I also like those new Orgreenic pans, picked one up, guess we’ll see how it works out. So far so good.



I get all kinds of coupons back from companies I’ve written to about either what I loved about their products, or problems I had with them. I live near the heart of Tyson Chicken country and know people on several big farms that contract with them raising chickens and turkeys. I have absolutely no quarrel with them, except one year I noticed their frozen cornish hens seemed more feathery than they used to be, and I let them know I was really tired of having to pick out the pins and feathers that had been missed. I got all kinds of free chicken, the more I complained, the more coupons I got. I finally went online and did some research (plus I get World Poultry Magazine), and basically the whole line had been revamped to accommodate the problems live chickens were going through at the top of the line, which led to not only better quality in the meat down the line, but far less suffering overall. So I thought Ok, I can handle a few feathers for that. Since then a new line called Smart Chicken® has moved into most of the stores, and that’s usually what I pick up, even though it costs a little more, because the meat is in such good condition, which means the chicken wasn’t treated badly getting all bruised up and broken, although, yes, you still get to finish cleaning off a few pin feathers and fuzz. This is kind of a big deal when you make your own chicken stock, but since I very thoroughly inspect and wash my chicken before it goes into the pot, I’ve never found any of that in my stock.
 


There are certain grocery items I ALWAYS check prices on as I shop. I’m not a browser, so I glance around at high speed, most people probably never see me do that. For instance, canned milk- depending where you go and what brand you buy, that stuff is regularly 30 cents higher or lower per 12-oz can, which would be a monumental deal if we were talking gas prices. Every time I save $1 buying store brand canned milk, I can spend that $1 on nicer meat, capiche? If I wait till Christmas season and buy chocolate chips $1 cheaper per bag and stock up enough to make a batch of cookies once a month all year, I’ve saved $12 dollars. If you guys aren’t noticing this insane waste of your money and still complaining about gas prices, you’re kinda dumb. I save so much money just noticing when is the right time to buy staples with long shelf lives that I never need coupons. I get real butter at very reasonable prices and throw piles of it into my freezer, and then don’t worry about needing it when the price doubles back up. Bacon goes more than half off around bbq season, I buy piles of it and it lasts all year. Stuff like that. We eat really well in this house, and some people think that’s a hoity toity way of life, but when you save $50 a month on all your staples, it’s easy to spend that $50 at a quality meat counter. And really, this is my kind of gaming. I’m so good at remembering prices between all the stores, it’s like hitting that pot and finding a gem in Legend of Zelda when I run into a price drop. I get a little rush.  When you find your fave designer coffee going down $1 per a 12-oz bag, it’s insane not to grab about 6 or 7 of them, right? Free bag of designer coffee right there. This is what hunting and gathering is all about in the 21st century, people.

I have worked in retail till I dropped, literally. I’ve always been a workaholic, thanx to my upbringing. I grew up labor intensive on a self sustaining Mennonite farm, which probably goes against all child labor laws, but it certainly created a framework for successfully navigating through the rest of my life. I think that’s what I like about watching Chopped All Stars, you can tell they’re the same way. We love food work. These are my people. The ONLY reason I left restaurant work was because I didn’t want to commit 24/7 to management over being with my kids, but if I’d never had any kids, that’s exactly where I’d be right now, or most likely would own my own place by now. My very fave celebrity chef (among MANY over the years) is Anne Burrell. I first watched her sous chef for Mario Batali on Iron Chef America, and I haven’t missed a single one of her shows since then, especially Worst Cooks in America. I’m a rabid scifi fan, but I bet I’ve watched more food shows in my life than any other kind of tv show. One of my very favorite shows is Two Fat Ladies, I’ve seen every episode 3 times and read all the books they’ve written.

I’ve been known to crack open a chocolate milk and take a pain pill after physical therapy while I shop for groceries on the way home, yes. There is one store in particular I hit where one of the sackers has known me for years, and she watched me crawl through the nightmare of immobility and motor carts for a couple of years, and now I’m walking around pushing my own cart again. Still difficult to bend into the cart and get my stuff out to put onto the little conveyor (I have doctor ordered weight restrictions on what I can lift), but it’s SO nice to be able to do the shopping myself again. Because of all the spinal pain I still go through, I’ve discovered that eating standing up is actually quite enjoyable. We have this mindset that we must sit to eat, but when we do that, we miss our deeper instincts. Picking through fresh roasted meat while it’s still fresh from the oven before I shred or dice it up is heavenly, and moving around between bites (since I’m already conveniently standing up) keeps me from overeating. It’s so easy to gain weight as we age, but if you stop sitting down through most of your meals and keep doing chores in between bites, it’s very enjoyable to eat without overdoing it.

Scott’s a real man, he doesn’t eat quiche. I make a ~fabulous~ quiche. We call it egg pie. He loves egg pie. I would love to get the Spice Agent’s take on quiche.



I’d rather be alone! I know that sounds harsh, but I get so distracted when I’m shopping with someone that we laugh ourselves silly and I can’t follow my list for beans. That sounds nice, you say, and I say yes it is, until we get home and I’m missing vital ingredients. Does this mean I choose food over friends? I don’t know, I’ve never psyche analyzed that part of myself, but I do know I love cooking FOR friends. I believe in the burrito. From Enjoy Your Burrito-
“Enjoy Your Burrito” has become a catchphrase of sorts for the Nerdist Podcast, closing every episode, but what does it mean? All was revealed in this episode, which posted on October 4, 2010. The burrito thing comes up at about the 56-minute mark, when Jonah discusses living in San Pedro, trying to get his comedy career going, and getting depressed. He talks about going to his favorite burrito place, and being depressed when halfway done with the burrito because it meant he’d have to go back to his depressing job. And that’s when he decided to “believe in the burrito,” enjoying the rest of the burrito right at that moment and worrying about the other stuff later. That story became, in shorthand form, “Enjoy Your Burrito,” which Nerdist fans have adopted as a motto for life. And since Jonah Ray, Matt Mira, and Chris Hardwick have impacted ~my~ life for the better through that, they can help you, too.


Have you noticed that people using ‘green’ bags don’t always shield the insides of the bags from direct contact with their raw fruits and veg? The reason plastics are such a big hit is because they are an effective barrier against germ spread. I’m all for going green, guys, but if you seem to be having upset stomachs a bit more than you’d like, read this handy guideline about the use and care of green bagging it.

Food safety awareness is key to healthy living. I am acutely aware that my own organically raised chickens may be salmonella carriers because of stuff like this video. Please be aware that ‘organic’ isn’t synonymous with ‘germ-free’. Because of this, I keep my hands away from my face as much as possible, wash my hands thoroughly when I come back into the house, and thoroughly cook the eggs my chickens lay. Living a healthy lifestyle with reusable bags and organic foods can still lead to fevers and puking your guts out, so be smart.

Just to make my point about 'organic', notice how many youtubes exist of chickens eating mice, which harbor all kinds of germs. This is my chickens eating watermelon, yum!




I can never not use a cart. I need it to hold my purse and jacket while I look at stuff.  I’m mise en place everywhere I go.

I actually like eating the bones, but I make sure they’re crunchy crumbly first.

I have never tried making chocolate crepes. And I’ve kinda been wondering how chocolate pancakes taste, but that seems a bit much. Can you tell I’m in a chocolate mood? Scott likes grape jelly on his pancakes, which I think is weird. Speaking of grape jelly… Scott is one of those guys who walks past flinging blurbs out that he *thinks* is part of a conversation he’s already having with me in his head. He’s an avid fantasy baseball player juggling multiple teams, so it got a little weird last month when he walked by and asked out of the blue if the Orioles had any grape jelly. I couldn’t imagine what in the world was going on in one of his ball teams THIS time, so I was all whaaa?, but then I thought Ok, musta heard him wrong, he meant Oreos because he loves those spring Oreos with the yellow filling, but jelly??? So I had to ask. I usually try to avoid asking, because sometimes it gets ridiculously more complicated than it needs to be, and sure enough, he thought *I* was the crazy one asking about Oreos and grape jelly. I’m sure you birders have already figured out he was thinking about putting an Oriole feeder up. I got this picture a few days ago in between one slurping jelly. It’s the only way I could get it on camera at all.







This is where it comes in real handy being allergic to nuts and peanuts. Nearly all candy near a register has an allergy warning on it. Since I steer clear for that, I never have to worry about calories from impulse candy.

25. If you had to pick one shopping or chocolate which one would you pick?
Shopping for chocolate!  I snack on Hershey’s milk chocolate chips because there is no nut or peanut allergy warning on them.



Follow your destiny!