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Organization vs. Convenience

I have a moving date: July 13. We’re downsizing, moving out of a 1200 sq. ft., three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house into a 900-ish sq. ft., two bedroom, two bathroom apartment (awaiting final confirmation).

Still bigger than I wanted, but significantly cheaper and almost 300 sq. ft. smaller.

As I’ve been decluttering over the last almost-year (stalled for the last few months), I’ve struggled mightily with the conflict of organization vs. convenience. For instance, in my new, smaller office, I have all my office supplies in two small bins that fit on the shelf above the desk. Nothing overflows and I have exactly what I need.

But getting out a pen is annoying. So is fishing out tape.

Not prohibitive enough to break my organization system, but noticeable.

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Convalescing with Movies

I managed to get sick this weekend, meaning I watched entirely too many movies… including some lousy movies. First, the good, though:

Welcome to Sajjanpur

I’m not at all sure why they bothered with the frame story of Mahadev being a novelist–it weakened the message of the story, especially given the true fates of some of the characters. That said, some supplementary research taught me about hijra in India–called eunuchs on IMDB, but not specifically labeled in the movie.

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Weekly Linkage

This week’s internet cruising:

And last but certainly not least: “My Fingers Stopped Working 3 Years Ago”.

Simple Recipes for Tastiness

Joining the CSA last month has transformed our kitchen into a palace of happiness.

…Well, maybe not such a huge transformation. But we’re definitely cooking differently.

For instance, Greg now keeps stock bags: one contains the unwanted bits from vegetables (stems and ends and skins), another contains the bones (etc.) from chickens that we eat. These live in the freezer until we have need of a stock, and then are boiled into bliss to produce either veggie or chicken stock.

Having very little waste as a result of cooking greens or chard is pretty damn awesome.

Having tasty stock (spiced as we desire) whenever we want: priceless.

It beats trying to set up composting in a home that isn’t your own.

We’ve also gotten better about using ingredients we have. Meal planning doesn’t happen until we have our CSA box, so we’re constantly thinking of cool ways to combine the veggies and meats we get with the wide variety of spices, pastas (cheating, I know!), and canned non-local veggies we have. Here are a couple of a cool recipes we’ve come up with, although the second one isn’t actually using CSA fruit (the peaches were overripe).

Yogurt Curry Chicken

No, there aren’t really any quantities here. Greg made it, and I wasn’t watching, but I certainly enjoyed the results. Experiment with the flavorings.

  • Chicken thighs and legs
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Mint, sage, and/or other fresh herbs (we had the first two fresh, but plenty others would be tasty)
  • Yogurt (plain, non-fat, Greek, in our case)
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Curry powder
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Salt & pepper

Braise the chicken pieces with onion, garlic, mint, and sage to cook it.

Make a mixture of the yogurt, water, cornstarch, curry powder, whole wheat flour, and salt and pepper. It should be the consistency of thick American yogurt (Yoplait, etc.). Roll the chicken in it and fry it quickly in a wok in oil.

Banana-Peach Ice Milk (Ice cream!)

I made this one, so I actually have rough quantities. This isn’t super-sweet, which makes it extra-tasty.

  • Two very ripe bananas
  • Three very ripe peaches (pits removed)
  • 1.5 cups of milk (2% milk, in our case)
  • 0.5 cups of half-and-half (fat-free, in our case)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (not tablespoon!) molasses
  • 2-3 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

There’s lots of room for fiddilng with the ingredients here: use cream, use whole-fat milk, use 2-3 tbsp maple syrup and no molasses.

Blitz all of those in a blender and play with the lighter elements (vanilla, maple syrup, lemon juice) until you have a maple-y/slightly caramely mix. Then toss it in your ice cream maker to freeze it. It took my machine about 25 minutes to congeal it, and we still froze it for a while afterwards.

It’s a little icy (rather than creamy), but delicious and fruity.