Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

Posts Tagged ‘cooking


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Some weekends, I rest.  I appreciate the time to sit, to read, to visit with friends, to simply take it easy and be, which is something so many of us don’t do enough of.

This weekend was productive, though, and even at its end I find myself energized and ready to take on that little bit more.

I’ve taken on a bunch of academic work, and made what will likely be huge strides towards completing my research.  I’ve also tackled work for other projects that need completing, and crossed many of them off my to do list.

The biggest gains have been around home, though.  I’ve managed to clean the tub, the tile, the ceiling, and the mirror in the bathroom, and to sort through some of the laundry.  I’ve done all the dishes, swept the floor, cleaned under the sink, decluttered a bit, cleaned the sink, the counters, and the stove.  I’ve baked bread, and now have home fries and a veggie quiche baking in the oven.

As much as I take satisfaction in rest on the weekends, especially after a long or otherwise trying week, there’s also satisfaction in productivity and in actually getting concrete things done (perhaps especially for those of us who spend much of our time living in our heads).  Although I imagine I’ll be tired very shortly – especially after the pleasures of dinner – I’m pleased with what’s been done, and feel far more grounded and centered now that work has been done and the results are visible.

Written by Jenn

February 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm

10×30 and The Anyway Project

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This week has not lent itself to the starting of projects like I’d imagined it would.  In addition to starting my 10×30 decluttering project and The Anyway Project, I was hoping to do some NaNoWriMo, as well as the academic-type equivalent.  I’ve done okay on the academic, but between a late-running project and utter exhaustion, the others took a back seat.

Until today.

After a sleep in until after noon, today, glory be, is the first day I’ve felt really human in awhile now.  I’ve taken the weekend off, and I’m feeling inspired and ready to go and catch up on the things that slipped by the wayside (the promise of Thai food for dinner, a rare treat, is also helping the motivation.

For The Anyway Project, Sharon’s set up seven categories that I’ve been giving some thought to:  Domestic Economy, Household Economy, Resource Consumption, Farm and Subsistence, Family and Community, Outside Work, and Time and Happiness.  While I have plans for all of them, the focus right now seems to be on domestic economy – really focusing on my home and how it can be better set up to meet my needs.  In some ways, this comes down to a lot of decluttering.  But as I get rid of things, I also want to consider if there’s anything home needs to make it more functionable or suitable (insulation comes to mind, which is another project on the books), as well as ways in which it can be better organized to work better for the ways that we use it.

Right now, I think this comes down to a few things.  First, it gets cold in here in the winter, and this is something that needs to be addressed.  We’ve started, but have a few other things to try as well.  I’d also like to make sure that there’s room for people to come over.  And, with people coming over, anything that helps up keep the place tidy enough that there isn’t a last minute scrable to clean before they arrive would also be lovely.  Finally, with a few projects in mind for this year – worm composter, more baking and cooking, and possibly some attempts at indoor growing over the winter, I need appropriate spaces, so clearing and arranging them now would be helpful.

These are just a few things – I’m sure more will come up as I actually tackle the work.  But for now, I’m off to find some things I can get rid of, tackle the dishes, and try to make this place just a bit tidier and less full by the end of the day today.

Written by Jenn

November 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Friends for dinner

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Given our relatively tight financials,we like to find ways to save a bit of money here and there.  Now, with the recently tight financials of some of out close friends, they’re been looking to save money too.

So, in an effort to still spend time together without breaking the bank, rather than going out for sushi (a perpetual favourite) we’ve been cooking together and then having our usual hang-out time.

Usually, we go out to grab some groceries together – whatever we need to cook – and then one or two of us cook while we all visit and chat.  We eat together, then hang out and visit.

Tonight’s dinner?  Rather than Chinese takeout, we decided to make our own.  I made fried rice and chicken with broccoli (shrimp with broccoli for me), and we had cookies as a treat for dessert.  I had most of the ingredients here already, and other than mushrooms, broccoli, and some extra eggs, there wasn’t much to pick up.

Even with a few snack or treats thrown in, the cost is significantly (!) less than going out for dinner – I think it comes in at well under 1/4 of the cost with everything included, and usually there are leftovers for whoever wants them.  We still get time together, we still get to visit, but we get to do so in a way that’s a bit more manageable for us right now.


Written by Jenn

October 23, 2010 at 1:41 am

No spending, the wrap-up

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Well, wrap-up for now, anyway…more to come later.

For those following along, it’s probably pretty clear by now that I’ve been away.  There’s a long story and a short one, but the short one is just that things have been a bit rough on the work front for a few weeks, and dealing with the issues (and my resulting emotional state) took a whole lot of time, plus a bunch of rest and time spent trying to take care of myself.

The craziness isn’t over yet – I’m just sitting a bit more calmly in the middle of it right now.  But for now, I’m sitting at the table, surrounded by books, drinking green tea from a vintage mug and listening to “The Harry Smith Project: Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited”.  Really, with that going for me life can’t be all bad, can it?

So, I may or may not be back to posting more regularly soon.  To be fair, I very much hope to be.  Having a side project and a record of it did me a lot of good, I think, and I don’t want to lose out on that.  There are, however, a few kinks to work out first, plus some extra work that’s due to start very soon (which I’m looking forward to, by-the-by).

But, in the meantime, July is over (decidedly over now, sadly), and I have more to talk about with regards to the no spending.

The bad: after a good friend and I both had seriously lousy days, we took a trip to the used bookstore for a bit of distraction.  While I once again stuck with books that have been on my list for awhile, I did buy a few that were more wants than needs right now.  Admittedly nothing was over $3 and most were less, totalling $7, but still.  In the name of full disclosure I left with Jane Jacob’s “The Nature of Economies,” Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” (which I’ve been wanting to read for ages), and a lovely hardbound edition of “The Wind in the Willows”.  One of my favourite stress-relievers is reading good children’s lit, and the latter is one that I actually haven’t ever read.  While I’m thrilled to be able to read them, I’m not quite so thrilled about buying yet more books, or heading out to shop as a distraction when things are not going so well.  This might be something to give more thought to.

The questionable: I’m a bit behind on ordering work-related things, so this week didn’t really have any questionable purchases in it – no textbooks, no software, no other supplies.

In terms of non-academic purchases, The Boy and I did make a move to buy a new push-cart type thing, since the old one was dying and we like it for groceries, but they were out of stock, so we made do with the reusable bags we usually use.

The good: my spending (other than the books) was limited to food.  Occasionally this was not-quite-so-good food (comfort, thy name is cheese), but for the most part I was buying good quality farmer’s market produce, which I’m pleased with.  The fridge is currently full of escarole, lettuce, spinach, leeks, tomatos, mushroons, zucchini, squash, and other tasty things.

So, that’s the nuts and bolts of what happened.  That said, I think I could use a bit of a post on what (if anything) I learned, where I’d like to improve, and whether I’m going to continue to limit or cut out spending in the same way.

Written by Jenn

August 5, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Money matters

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No spending, week two

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Sometimes, life just gets busy.  I’ve spent a huge amount of time on dissertation work this week, which is great, but it hasn’t really left a whole lot of time for anything else.  Like writing here (I’m thinking the series of thrift posts I was thinking of might have to be spread out far more significantly than I thought that they would).  Or, more happily, like shopping.

Partly because of my current time limitations, but mostly because of the increased willpower after week one, I’ve had a pretty good no shopping week.  Here’s the report, such as it is.

The Bad:  Nothing really and truly bad to report, I don’t think.  I didn’t do much in the way of recreational shopping, so this category is a bit blank, which is excellent and pretty much exactly what I was going for.

The Questionable:  First, a book that I wanted to read, but that also goes along with my current as well as some future research interests.  The Boy and I happened to be near the used book store, so we headed in for a few minutes and I walked out with Jane Jacob’s “Cities and the Wealth of Nations” which links to my current work on some economic things, as well as a standing research interest in the city.  It’s probably not strictly necessary, but it’s something I’ll use.

The Boy and I also went out for dinner with friends.  I didn’t actually think of this when I was plotting this out, and I certainly didn’t say anything about not buying dinners out, but for some reason, this one still makes me feel a tad odd sometimes, but that could also be the result of eating at the local all-you-can-eat sushi place which is a bit on the pricey side.  To be fair, though, we’re supporting a local business, had a lovely time with friends, and really just don’t do this very often at all.

The Good:  Other than these two questionable things, there’s been no shopping on my end other than for groceries.  I’ve picked up a few things at the farmer’s market ad we’ve been to the grocery store.  We also picked up some snacks to have with friends one night, which is not usually on my shopping radar and sometimes makes me a bit twitchy, but I really haven’t stepped out of bounds at all.

Despite the amount of work that I’m doing, I’ve also been feeling like I have more time available to me.  I’m not sure if I’m just managing the time that I have better, or if not shopping is making a difference (could I have been shopping that much before?  It doesn’t feel like it, but I don’t really know…) but I take more time to exercise, read, cook, bake, hang out with friends, and tidy up now, which has been really lovely.  It also seems like whatever urges to go shopping that I have have been slipping away a bit, which is also a nice effect.

So, all in all it’s been a good week.  While I have no plans to shop next week – in part because I just have so much to do – this could be an interesting one since I have a pile of books to buy as well as a rather expensive computer program.  They’re for research, and will ultimately be paid for by grant money, but those will likely wind up cropping up in next week’s write up.

Written by Jenn

July 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Farmer’s market haul

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Yet another (mercifully brief, I hope) update from this week’s farmer’s market…

This week, it’s a whole lot of greens and a few other bits and pieces – apparently my latest obsession.  Here we have spring onions (loads and loads – so tasty), bok choi, rainbow chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, beefsteak tomatoes, and broccoli.  In the front are some locally made bagels which are light but super-tasty.

(By the way, other than those holding the bagels, all plastic bags are reused).

Not from the market, but from the same trip: pickling salt, a reuseable toothbrush, eco-friendly laundry detergent, spices,and a bag of local organic oats from the local grain mill (which is fantastic, by the way).

I’m excited about all the greens – thus far, I’ve had steamed greens, greens in salads, and greens as the wrap part of chickpea salad wraps.  Up next I have exciting plans for stir fried broccoli and bok choi as well as – with any luck, fingers crossed – homemade sauerkraut.  Onward and upward…

Written by Jenn

July 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Farmer’s market

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Once again, the market was delightful.  I made my way home with local strawberries (last of the season – so sad), sweet potatos, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, and beets.

And then…there was pie, made from this recipe.

Pie is good.  That is all.

Written by Jenn

June 26, 2010 at 10:41 am

Posted in Eating well

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Quiet foodie Sunday

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It was a quiet day today, as I’m usually of the opinion that Sundays should be.  I woke up early – as I do pretty much every day now – and had some time online before calling my dad and wishing him a happy father’s day.  I had some breakfast, took a bit of a bath while reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”, and then went for a bit of walk.  While I was out, I picked up some organic cocnut oil for baking and a book on keeping chickens (although that may go back in favour of a different one, once I’ve had a chance to look through it).

Although I had plans to write a bit this afternoon, they got a bit pushed aside in favour of a trip to the grocery store and some kitchen time.  Really, it needs to be cleaned before someone comes to look at the leaky fridge, but I also spent a good deal of time making food.

Garlic scapes were turned into a fresh, garlicky flax seed pesto and, with green onion and tomato from the market and basil from out back, became pizza.  The strawberries from the market and rhubarb from friends became what I think is my first-ever pie, complete with lattice top (pictures to follow – so proud!)

Tomorrow, work will get done, as will more cooking, and the eating of the tasty leftovers.  Today, I’ve cleaned the kitchen, made some good food, and learned to make some new things, which is just fine by me.

Written by Jenn

June 21, 2010 at 12:00 am

Posted in Eating well

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More local foods

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I woke early this morning and ventured out to the farmer’s market at the north end of the city.  I was pretty excited about it yesterday, and wasn’t disappointed when I arrived this morning – more vendors than I expected, plus lots of great offerings.

I came home with a number of things in tow, and it probably would have been more if my fridge weren’t already fairly full.

Here we have: fresh lettuce, spring onions, beefsteak tomatoes, strawberries, cheese curds, Italian sausage, and bacon.

Since I currently have access to a car, I also took a trip up to the Arva Flour Mill, which is fairly close by.  I walked away with 5 kilos of locally milled flour (without preservatives), plus some of their wheat bran, which I’m looking forward to trying out.

While part of me does still get a bit weird about prices of things in general (I find that grad student funding and strict budgets can really mess with your relationship with money long-term), I really enjoyed shopping at the market and bringing home really good, really local food.  And, in all honesty, the strawberries alone were worth it.

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June 18, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Eating well

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Local foods

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Today, I went with a friend to her mom’s place an hour away so she could leave for vacation – I brought her car back, and will be driving it while she’s away, mostly so the battery doesn’t die.

Her mom has a garden out back and they rarely if ever use all that they produce.  So, after hearing that I love garden-fresh produce and have an idea how to use it, she gave me a few things to bring home with me.

Fresh garlic scapes (some of which got used in fried rice tonight).


A jar of her apricot jam, canned from the apricots that grow on the tree in their backyard.

I am delighted beyond belief.  I love rhubard, scapes, and jam in general, but the fact that it was local (albeit with a bit of driving on my part) and grown in the backyard of someone I know is a really nice feeling.  Tomorrow, there will be scapes in my omlette, jam on my toast, and rhubarb crisp for dessert, and I will enjoy it all immensely.  So excited!

Written by Jenn

June 17, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Posted in Eating well

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