Category: cooking with LTS food

Wed. Aug. 24, 2022 – moar stuff needs doin’

Hot hot hot, and humid, like a hot sweaty thing…  Houston in summer.

Went to do some of my pickups.   Hit the goodwill  outlet on the way home.  Bins were mostly full of clothes, which don’t usually interest me.  One vintage  made in USA work boot, but no pair.  Some vintage electronics but nothing worth enough to grab.   I did grab a FoodSaver unit as backup to the ones I use all the time.   I’ll test it and if it’s working, just clean it.  If not, it’ll go in the parts bin.  Most of the FoodSavers have very similar parts with cosmetic changes.  It’s a  recent, higher end unit.

I grabbed a nice sturdy folding keyboard stand for D2, like new, with tags.  I’m working on setting up a music workstation for her.  She’s been writing lyrics with a friend from school, and wants to play around with making music and recording.  I’ve got almost all the pieces of a decent workstation, just need to find the time to get it all together.

Not much lego, only a couple of hot wheels, and a handful of Pokemon cards….  really a very slow day at the bins.

Dinner was an experiment.   I have leftover chicken breast from a whole Costco chicken, and none of us really like the white meat, so while I was grocery shopping I picked up a “skillet meal” pouch of sauce.   I’ve had good luck with the other HEB sauces, so I thought I’d give cilantro and lime chicken over rice a go.   Meh.  Glad I only bought one pouch.  If we’d liked it, I’d  use it with the Costco canned chicken too.   I’m always looking for ways to use the canned chicken, it’s my primary long term protein.   I was careful to add enough rice to the pot this time and it came out as expected.   I can learn…

My trip to the grocery store earlier in the day had only one surprise, chicken gizzards are $2.68 a pound.   Freaking breasts don’t cost that much, legs are $1.o9 and thighs are $1.39.  Chicken was limit 2.  Why would the dang offal be more than the breast?  No hearts either, but plenty of feet.   (Oddly, they are usually labeled chicken “paws” on the package.)   There were bare spots throughout the store.  Everyone was complaining about high prices.   A bag of chips was $5, that I used to buy for $2.50 on sale.  A pleasant surprise was prime top sirloin steaks for only $5.99/pound.   I bought the limit.   Temporary decrease in beef prices due to culling herds, or just my local store shedding excess inventory as usual?   Don’t know, wish I could have bought more.

Good hamburger, 93/7 % was over $5, while cheap 70/30 was about $3.49.  False economy though, you pour the 30% fat in the trash, even though you’ve paid for it.  And for a dollar a pound more, I’d rather eat steak.   Granted that hamburger is more versatile…   The bacon I buy was unchanged, that’s going on months now without a price fluctuation.  Weird that.  Bought some.

There were a lot of unfamiliar brands filling out the shelves.  The cookie aisle was very noticeable.   Given that we’re in Texas, a lot of  the brands were mexican with spanish names, and might just be catering to the buyers.   HEB has their own spanish label house brand, and that is gaining prominence on the shelves too.  I think that it’s more about supply issues than stocking for a demographic though.   If it continues, I’ll notice.

Today I’ve got another pickup, and I need to start pulling stuff together for my show/swapmeet.   I have bins full of stuff, scattered across 3 or 4 locations.   And load in is Friday morning.   I better get busy.

Stack all the things!  Learn all the things!   Know all the beings!

nick

Tues. Aug. 16, 2022 – and away we go!

Hot, humid, chance of rain… and all that noise.   It was a bit cooler yesterday than it has been, so maybe summer is winding down.  On the other hand, it was still 82F at midnight.

Got the kids off to school, kinda.   Turns out the bus drives by, then picks up some other kids, and returns to pick up mine.  As it was 20 minutes late when it passed the first time,  we didn’t wait.   Kids had a good first day.

I did some auction stuff then went shopping.   Dropped a bunch of money at Lowes on plumbing stuff for the BOL, then hit up Costco.   Dropped a bunch of money there, but got a bunch of meat too.  Freezers are full again, until I move more to the lake.

Today I’ve got auction pickups, home and rent house maintenance, and some other errands to run, but first D1 needs to have her braces checked.   That takes up most of the morning, by the time I’m back home. Oh well. Poor planning to schedule the appointment during the school week, when we could have done it last week, but we are getting near the end of her treatment.  ‘Bout time to get D2 started.


One of the auction items I picked up last week was a solar inverter.   Solar for the BOL is moving up the list.  I just have to figure out how all the pieces work together, and find the time to assemble what I have.   Seems like it should be more straightforward than most people online make it out to be.   Hmm.  Lotta things like that.

 

The other thing I have to do is some auction listings.   I’ve got some high value stuff just sitting here, getting older, without being listed.   Keeping up with listings is probably the hardest part of reselling, but there isn’t any “selling” without listing.   Seems like there is always something more important to do though.

Dinner yesterday was all from stores.   Sesame chicken “simmering sauce” from HEB, costco chicken from cans, and instant rice.   Came together pretty quickly and tasted good.  Every bit got eaten, and my wife said she’d eat it again…  Starting with the packaged food cuts prep time considerably, reduces cook time dramatically, and makes it easier.  All of those are good things in a disaster, or just when you can’t be bothered to cook from complete scratch.   All of the elements of the meal store for a long time too.

Bulk ingredients are great, and are an integral part of any long term plan, but consider some meals that use less time and energy for the times when you are short of both.

Then stack it up!

nick

Tues. May 3, 2022 – about to get even busier…

Forecast says “clear” for the next two days at least.   Monday started out very gusty, with spatters of rain while I was putting the kids in the car, but it soon cleared up.   Today should be clear all day, but I’m sure it will be humid and hot.

Because I’ll be doing some work in the attic.   HVAC guy came yesterday and did whatever poking around he needed to do to get the job actually started.  I’ve got a feeling it will be about 80% of what we want, it’s costing more than the luxury system quote from two years ago, and I think the work will be pretty haphazard.   BUT, he got the unit we needed, and the approved ductwork, and the system has been patched and babied along for two extra years past its failure point.   I NEED to get new stuff installed.  And for that to happen, I need to clear space in the attic for them to work.   That will be … difficult and a pain in my sweaty backside.

On top of that, I have the normal weekly stuff to do, and I am supposed to be taking stuff to auction today and tomorrow.   Which probably will not happen if I’m in the attic all day.

I did get a few things done yesterday.  Did a billable half day of work for my client.  AT&T has pushed all the conduit to his property, they just need to get fiber in it, and make the final several hundred foot push to the house.   It looks like they  hope to light up the rest of his neighbors too at some point.   There are lots of drops along the way to his house.

More food got put away.   The $2/pound pork loin got turned into three roasts, and one got eaten for dinner.  The others joined their piggy friends in freezer camp.   I opened a can of cajun style lima beans as a side, didn’t tell anyone what they were besides “beans” and not only did they get eaten, my wife actually called them good.   It must have been the butter and bacon crumbles.

Also got 40 pounds of flour into buckets.  20 pounds per 5 gallon bucket, a paper plate, and a couple of hand warmers to eat the O2.   Those buckets will go to the BOL.  My wife notably didn’t say anything about the 40 pounds of flour sitting in the living room until I could pack it.   I think she’s coming around to the idea of shortages.  It would be hard not to given the news and predictions from every direction.  Yet there will be people crying that ‘nobody told us’.   I’M telling you, there will be shortages, and some people are going to be very hungry, both here, and pretty much everywhere else.   Dust Bowl, Great Depression, soup kitchen levels of hungry, only without the civility of a homogeneous society.  That last point should be top of your mind too.

Ammo prices have come down slightly and availability has increased.  I’m even seeing sales on large quantities.  Some places have complete uppers for sale again too.  If you’ve been waiting, this is as good a time as any.

ATF has new rules ready to go into effect.   We may be facing whatever comes with what we’ve got.   And something bad, really bad, is coming.   The DHS created a department to police thought and word.   That’s how far we’ve come, and the direction we’re going.  They didn’t ‘float a trial balloon.’  They created it and staffed it.  Just like that.  With no lead up or indication ahead of time.  Once we’re on a war footing, even the token resistance from conservatives will be stifled in the name of the war effort.  It’s all happened before, it can happen again.

So stack it high. And hide it well.  You’ll need it.

 

nick

 

Thur. Apr. 28, 2022 – so we’re a quarter of the way through the year…

Clear and nice for the next two days according to the national forecast.   We’ll see what our local microclimate actually does, but it certainly was nice yesterday.

Too bad I spent most of the afternoon literally pretending to be a shade tree mechanic.   And laying on my back in the shade under a filthy truck.   The result of a few hours spent is ruling out the alternator and the starter/solenoid.  Most of that time was driving from store to store to get the parts checked.    My next possibility is the corroded cable at the battery clamp.  I found a 2 volt drop in the first inch  of the cable.   The weird thing is that the problem appeared suddenly.  Damage from corrosion is usually a slow and gradual problem.  JEP said “it’s almost always the cable” and he may have been right in this case too.

I spent the morning getting dinner ready (crock pot pot roast) and packing the bulk meat I bought.  Should have done it sooner, but it was still fine.   Did I mention that Costco has standing rib pork loin roasts for less than $2/pound?  I forgot that it was Easter time, and that they carried my favorite pork cut at Easter.  Cut up as pork chops, or cooked as a roast, you can’t  beat the flavor.  The pot roast is a family favorite, and couldn’t be easier.  Just add whatever sturdy veg you have in the fridge, I used turnips, carrots, potatoes, and onion, the meat (seared in cast iron first) and the Betty Crocker pot roast slow cooker seasoning packet.  6-8 hours later, add a fresh baked (shelf stable) loaf of sourdough bread to the table, and you have a feast.   Stew in the slow cooker is pretty much the same, except the meat is cubed first, and I use the “beef stew” packet…

Plan for today is more exploration and hopefully a resolution to my truck issue.  I need the truck  to do about 80% of the stuff on my list.  If I get it fixed, I’ve got all the other stuff that didn’t get done this week stacked up.   If I don’t, that stuff will slip even more.

I guess I better get moving.

And btw, the head of Goya foods is warning about famine too.

It’s real and it’s coming.   Stack it up.

n

Sun. Apr. 24, 2022 – sometimes, I just throw up my hands…

Possibility of rain today, with moderately warm temps.  Yesterday was fairly nice.   Sun, moderate temps, and not too humid.  Not many of those days left before summer really hits.

Slept in, didn’t get a whole lot done before I had to put my chef’s hat on.   Dinner was a success with the birthday girl, her friends were a  lot less enthusiastic about the lamb.  Which is a shame because it was pretty good.  I tried something different with the bread, and it worked out.  When I was in college, we’d sometimes eat at a steak restaurant attached to a wholesale butcher.  It was great food and cheap, and the meal came with “Roman Bread”.   I’ve been thinking of that bread for a while, and finally decided to try finding a recipe and making it.   The actual recipe from the restaurant was online, and it was straightforward.

It was as good as I remember, a hit with my wife, and the kids liked it.  The yeast I used wasn’t very vigorous (the packet was one year past best by date) but it’s a pretty flat bread anyway, and it rose enough.  The onions make it sweet, the rosemary makes it savory, and it has a great texture.  It’s not as simple as true flatbread or tortilla, and uses more energy and ingredients, but it’s about half way there between a loaf and flat…   I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure.   Variations might be great too, like grated cheese instead of onion, or chopped chives, or any number of other things.

The Roman Bread is a lot like fruit cobbler, in that little can go wrong, you can do variations, and prep time is minimal.


 

Someone mentioned it in comments, but I’ll repeat that the Texas preparedness tax holiday continues until Monday midnight.  As long as you order and pay before then, you get the tax back, or don’t pay it.   The list and limits are here.

 


The problem with my truck not starting may not have been the battery failing.   There was no juice, and the battery read 12.8v while connected, but a new battery failed to solve the problem.   Still no start, still not enough juice to run any accessories.   I will be troubleshooting that further today, I didn’t have time to look at it before, once I knew there was still an issue I just closed the hood and walked away.  Very weird though.

The rest of today will be me working the list.   And it gets bigger every day.

I encourage you, in the strongest possible way, to build up your food supplies.  Stack it high.

nick

Mon. Jan. 31, 2022 – this month is finally on it’s last day…

Cool and kinda damp today, with the possibility of some real hard rain according to openweathermap.org.  I guess we’ll see….    Sunday was nice, cool but sunny and decently warm in the sun.

This January took forever to pass by.  Usually I feel like the days are flying by, but with 5 weekends, this month dragged.  I don’t know why I want it to be past, but I do.    I don’t think great things will be happening in February, but at least it won’t be January.

Spent yesterday watching auctions for stuff for the new place, while also doing other stuff around the house, and I blew it.  I let something go that I really wanted and would save both time and money at the new place.  Got distracted…

Then made dinner.  Which brought me this thought.  I can talk briefly about one of my storage options, the freezer.

I freeze bread.  I find that bread products keep really well for me in the upright freezer. I don’t do anything special, just put them in the way they come from the store. I freeze regular loaves of Sara Lee white sandwich bread, with at least 2 and usually 3 in the freezer at a time.  We use about 2 loaves in three weeks, so  they do turn over regularly.  I like the Sara Lee because it holds up to spreading peanut butter.  A lot of the white breads don’t.

I freeze naan bread.  (indian flat bread) It’s pre-baked, and just needs to be warmed up, so it’s a quick and easy way to get a bit of bread with a meal.  It does come in a sealed plastic bag.  It lasts for a year or more in the freezer, doesn’t take up much space, and is a solid “go to” for me.  Very easy to warm for use too, spritz with water and throw on the grill or in the oven (whichever you already have hot) for a few minutes each side.  I think if things get really shirty, flat breads will be the way to go vs leaven breads.  Much less time and energy to cook than baking.

I freeze english muffins.  Thomas’ to be precise.  Again, I just chuck them into the freezer in their store packaging.   They store well for a long time.

I freezer a 300 pack of wheat tortillas too, but also have a 300 open in the fridge for normal day to day use.  They last in the fridge for months.

I thaw the white bread, and the english muffins all at once for the week before use, but the naan I heat from frozen.

Hamburger buns and hotdog buns do well too, but do get ‘freezer burned’ if left too long.

It is very convenient to have bread in the stacks and to not have to head to the store every week.

One other option deserves mention, my Costco has 3 packs of shelf stable bread.  They are loaves of sourdough and are vac packed with some sort of absorber packet.  They just need to be heated to ‘crunchy’ and they are great when you are looking for a crusty hearty loaf in a hurry.  They are still good after the best by date, but the absorber starts to stain the crust black.  I just cut that part of the crust off and ate the rest.


Of course, you can bake from scratch, kit, or with a bread machine.  I’ve done the machine and still do for holiday breads.  It’s very easy and a great way to get good bread on demand, and save money while cycling through your stored bulk.  I’ve found the loaf doesn’t last long once made though, and if we don’t work hard at it, we don’t eat it before it gets hard.  So the store bought breads are a better value as they last long enough to get eaten.


There it is.  Compelling content!  Exciting discussion!  Friendly folks!  Random factoids!  Red Lectroids!

If you haven’t been stacking bread or bread-like food items, I hope you can throw some in the freezer now.  They’ll probably be good later too.

Stack all the things!  Including bread.

n

Sun. Jan. 30, 2022 – sleeping again, or more, or something

Cool and dry?  Or cold and damp… yesterday was nice.  Dry and just slightly too cool.

Didn’t get anything of substance done yesterday.  Slept late, watched and bid on auction lots for the lake house, and avoided my TODO list.

I’m taking today as it comes, not making any predictions about what work I won’t actually do, and maybe some will get done.  Because the world has turned into opposite land, maybe that will let me be productive.

Reading posts from March of 2019, and a bunch was going on.  Interesting to look back.  Also something to do instead of going to bed.

Do as I say, not as I do, and get some stuff done off your list.  Time is short, it ALWAYS is.  Stack stuff.

n

Sun. Dec. 19, 2021 – whew, getting chilly

Cooler to cold, damp to wet. It’s all a matter of degrees. After the rain yesterday the temperature dropped 20F and the wind picked up. 52F, damp and windy, feels pretty darn cold here in Houston. Today should be pretty cool too.

I did some pickups, mainly to meet with the auctioneers. I got a squishy commitment to take some more of my stuff to the local auction where I did very well. Then I went by my secondary, moved a couple of things around, unloaded some stuff from my truck, and came home.

Dinner was leftover crock pot carnitas, but with bread and veg, instead of tortillas and rice and beans. Worked pretty well. Pork shoulder is cheap, $1.79/pound and even less when on sale. You can prep on a budget, even putting away protein, if you shop carefully, and eat the food poor people traditionally eat.

I guess I moved enough stuff out of the house because my wife put the tree in the stand, and set it up in the “play room”/ library. There is a truckload of stuff in the foyer now, but I’ll deal with some of that today if the weather is clear. It was too wet to decorate, so we’ll do that today. Some of the other inside decor went up, and the house smells like the tree. It’s beginning to feel like Christmas to me.

Peter over at BayouRenaissanceMan has been reminding people about inflation, food shortages, and the need to build up pantries. Some commentors sound like they’re in good shape. Peter suggests people get to 30 days of food. I think that’s a great start but you better have a whole bunch more, if only to supplement whatever you can find, if things go further pear shaped. And y’all know I think they will. If the situation with fertilizer shortages causes changes in plantings, and subsequently reduces the food available next season, prices will go up further. Scarcity will increase too and this comes on the heels of the floods and reduced harvests of a couple years ago. Stockpiles are reduced already. Everyone eats, so food insecurity is a very destabilizing thing. Make sure you have options and choices. I was thinking yesterday about the government cheese of my youth. I loved that stuff and would love to have a couple of those giant bricks in my stacks. I suspect that there are a lot fewer warehouses full of .gov stockpiles than there were in the 80s…

Desperate people do desperate things. Plan ahead and prep so you don’t have to.

Stack it up.

nick

Sun. Dec. 12, 2021 – 12122021 – the return of the wanderers

Cold and damp, no rain though. That’s my best guess for today. It really got colder last night. Daytime temps were cool, but it dropped below 50F before I went to bed. My knees and hands hurt when it gets cold and damp.

Had a great time at my non-prepping hobby Christmas party. The food was awesome. Club provided meats, members brought dishes. I brought peach cobbler and sweet corn bread wedges. The corn bread didn’t rise, so fail there, but the cobbler got complements. Both from long term stores. For desserts there was a whole table of sweets, including two different pecan pies– both were deliciously sweet, the way they should be. I had two different sliced hams, smoked turkey, bbq meatballs, and some other pork. Then we did a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange. The ‘white elephant’ part is that the gift is silly, something you didn’t really want, and ideally humorous. It was also supposed to relate to the hobby. 43 people participated and for added fun, you could choose to ‘steal’ someone else’s gift instead of opening one. Then the deprived person gets to pick a new wrapped gift. Items could only be ‘stolen’ twice. Lots of fun and good-natured ribbing involved. Very normal feeling and great to see so many members.

Plan for the day is get stuff out of the house. Then finish outdoor decor. The kids and my wife should be home before I’m done with either of those. Puppy Zeus is supposed to get his incision looked at in the late afternoon, and maybe we’ll have time to get a tree. IF I get all the stuff cleared out.

Just another day in the life really. Stack up the good times as well as the good stuff.

nick

Thur. Oct. 21, 2021 – 10212021 – yes I am sending you secret messages

Cool and clear again, or maybe damp and overcast, but probably much like yesterday. I sometimes wish the forecasters would just come out and say it that way. Yesterday was saturated most of the day with highs in the low 90s in the sun. I was sweaty standing still.

Got a couple of things done. Moved some stuff, threw out some food that was old or damaged, repacked some too. I need to replace a couple of bags of salt, and one bag of flour. Salt doesn’t go “bad” but it can be affected by moisture from water or “other things”. Oh, one bag of sugar was rock hard too. Not expensive, and I have acknowledged that I’ve got ‘breakage’ due to poor conditions that others might not have. On the other hand, the rice was fine.

Took a load to the auctioneer and he’s still happy to see me and get more stuff. He’s having trouble sourcing his normal stuff, there really aren’t as many returns/overstocks now as there were months ago. He’s glad to have my stuff to sell, and I have more for him 🙂

Get your holiday shopping done early. In fact, get ALL your shopping done early. I’m even looking for a cheap Christmas tree, in case the real ones end up in short supply. If they don’t have labor to cut them, or trucks to ship them, they could be scarce or crazy expensive. Normally you can’t give away artificial trees at estate sales and thrift stores. I’ll be curious if that is different this year. As an aside, it’s the first year I’ve ever actually looked at prices. Hole-y Bat shrub Batman. Artificial trees are expensive! Modern good looking ones anyway.

So that’s it, your secret message. Stack it high, stack it early. All signs point to trouble ahead.

nick

huh, this is the 600th post I’ve tagged wuflu. Tired of this.

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