Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Tuesday morning

It was happy hunting at Sainsbury's yesterday, in that I got several things I hadn't planned to get, but what the heck, school starts tomorrow (my excuse for every indulgence at the moment).
I had a good look at the clothes and was a bit frustrated to see so much in beige/yellow/cream which is definitely NOT my colour. It looks as if this season's colour is mostly based around brown/beige, something that seems to be reinforced by the fashion pages of the magazines. I read that separates are in again, but this seemed to be mostly trousers with very few skirts on show. I ended up buying two pairs of jeans, but they will only be worn indoors for now. I also got two long tops to wear with them. One is lovely and flowing and looked quite pretty. The other is going to be my next target top - I would say another 8lbs off and it will look OK! I like it very much so it's a great incentive and a better measure of how things are going than the scales.

I've been noticing that one of my favourite Wii activities, the half hour step, isn't really challenging me any more. I'm doing it but don't feel 'worked out' by the end. I was wondering about holding cans of beans or something like that to make it more strenuous; I can't go any faster because it doesn't register if you go too fast. To my delight, I saw a set of three pairs of dumbbells on special in Sainsbury's so bought them. It was definitely more challenging yesterday evening and, as I was able to do some lifting at the same time, I felt it was much more of a complete work out, which was satisfying.

Something really struck me as I drove home after shopping. By now, one expects to see the grass verges looking yellowish and dried out as the warm, dry weather takes its toll. However, far from it, they are green and lush, with no sign of drying out or browning and, apart from everything being more or less the same green now rather than the many shades of spring, it could easily have been May or early June. Apart from the very hot spell in June/July, it's been much more like the summers I remember from my younger days - cooler, uncertain and with plenty of rain, creating indeed a 'green and pleasant land'.

I had an email from my brother who lives in the Borders saying that a frost was expected overnight. I don't know if they got one but when I woke this morning the central heating had clicked in and the radiators were warm, so it must have been colder than usual at some point in the early morning. No frost here though, thank goodness. I have no wish for my garden to be struck down so early - it's not even Autumn yet!

Sweffling made a comment about how I must have a good system for the freezer. As I confessed in my answer, I have a dark corner in my freezer, especially the chest one, as does just about everyone, but I do also have a method, worked out over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, it really only applies to the things I have in single portions, so stuff I get for Christmas, for example, can fall to the bottom if not used at the time and get forgotten.

For the rest, this is what I do.
Firstly, everything is labelled with what it is and the date it went in. I use Avery labels (or the cheaper equivalent from Staples or Tesco) and the wonderful single portion pots I have in such abundance from Bodychef. I wouldn't be without them! The labels go on the lids and they then go into poly bags.
The other main thing is that as soon as I put the single portions of anything in the freezer, I record what's gone in and how many (as ticks) on a document on the computer. When I plan my week's eating, this is my main source of information and when I take something out, I delete a tick. It's not foolproof, but it works pretty well, as long as I keep it up to date.
So looking at the list now I can see that I have a lot of stuff left over from the family barbecue which will need to be eaten sooner rather than later but am running short on chicken based meals.

Living on my own can be awkward as far as following recipes is concerned. Not everything reduced to one portion without waste. Not a problem, I simply make enough for four and freeze three. When making a casserole or stew, a bolognaise or curry, I make as much as the meat allows and then divide it into what looks like reasonable portions - how many I get is just pot luck!

I also look out for bargains or possibilities in the shops - yesterday I saw a pot of watercress and creme fraiche sauce that said 'can be frozen'. Now, seeing as I have a number of portions of salmon in the freezer, I thought that it would be a useful thing to get to go with the salmon. I split it into seven portions, in little pots, all labelled, and there they are for when I have the salmon.

So I suppose, yes, I do have a fair old system going, but it doesn't take much time, is manageable and the only problem is that as I like to cook, in the past I have just made too much - certainly I have some pretty old stuff in there, but it won't go off, just deteriorate in terms of texture and, perhaps, taste.

And I am all set up for the new term now. The vegetables, etc, are all cooked fresh, of course, but I have a good selection of cooked meat dishes to plan and choose from and all I have to remember is to get it out of the freezer in time! It's basically do-it-yourself Bodychef - cheaper and with the fun of cooking your own and being able to take advantage of specials as they appear.

Works for me!

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