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    Monday, April 15, 2013

    Tiny flower update!

    Yay! My garden grows!

    This is turning into a lunch blog...

    I've got a thing for lunch. Instant oatmeal may be fine for breakfast, and ramen is alright for dinner - but lunch needs to have something a little special about it.

    I usually make my lunches the night before. They can take some time to make so today I tried two days of lunches at the same time. I made a crusty bread sandwich the "Alton Brown" way, added dried apricots and prunes, banana chips (on one only because I had a little extra room), chocolate cinnamon roll, cantaloupe, and grapes.

    Another recent lunch:
    Salad with black pepper and italian dressing (that little bottle with the aqua cap), white cheddar Cheeze-its, dries apricots, and watermelon over angle food cake. 

    And one more lunch made using the same container: 
    Veggie lasagna, strawberry Nutra-grain bar, apple sauce, soy yogurt, apple slices, banana chips, and a different brand of dried apricots that made me feel ill, made my dog ill, and made the Hubbs gack. We threw those out when I got home. 

    These were all made using the Sistema container I raved about before. I dropped one of the containers while setting it in the drying rack and the connector piece that holds the top to the bottom shattered. I was so upset  I won't even mention - but Ty calmed me down and I used some fancy duct tape skills to reconnect the two. That's why on some of the photos the connector has gone white. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rainy Sunday Rhubarb Canning

Its a rainy afternoon in Seattle.

Mr. Venture and I are just getting over a cold, the dog was sick Friday night, and I'm being L-A-Z-Y with Devin reading on my couch. Normally this would all add up to tea time, but since it's Spring, we made strawberry rhubarb compote instead!

Yesterday, while hunting for a motorcycle jacket that is a blog post all on it's own, we wandered into an Indian / East African grocery store. Between the 5 different types of cumin, wondering what to do with raw green almonds, and hunting through the bin of broken tamarind pods, I found a bunch of organic strawberries and Devin spotted some rhubarb for $1.99/lb.

Devin washed and rinsed all the canning jars / lids / rims, and I got straight to cleaning and slicing the strawberries.

I threw them into my tall stainless spaghetti pot.  

Devin filled the even larger canning boiler. Its like a big lobster pot with a removable wire rack inside that holds the jars steady and evenly spaced while you are bathing them. It covers two burners on my stove so we filled it 3/4ths of the way up, put the lid on it, and cranked both burners to high while we turned our attention to the rhubarb. 

After rinsing it and chopping off the ends, we sliced the rhubarb lengthwise and then diced it like carrots, adding to the steel pot as we went. I like mine sweet, so I added about 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of material. I didn't have any cornstarch, so I followed the guide on my jar of pectin. It came to about 3 Tbsps of pectin. 

Stirred till rolling boil, poured into prepped jars that had been drying the the warm oven, lidded, rimmed, and set carefully into the bath. I should really get a jar lifter - but since I don't have one, I used my silicone tongs to pull the jar up just enough to clear the water level, then slide under the jar with the oven mitt to guide it to the table. 

Devin helped:

We waited a bit for the jars to pop and then tightened the rims. Of course, there was slightly more filling than could be jarred - so we sampled the remaining filling over some strawberry ice cream - YUM!

Finished results: 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Lunch Box Lurvs

I heart the Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube. While nothing is unsexier than "lunch cube," it's a totally functional lunch holder and deserves love despite the horrible name. It holds enough to be a real meal, the different sized compartments rock my love for more fruits than veggies, and (very importannt) it's easy to clean.

Traditional bento boxes are pretty awesome - but I hate losing those little dividers down the garbage disposal!! I don't like putting my hand down that thing to fish them out...gives me the shivers.

So this is my lunch -

Sammich, veggie mac, applesauce, and up in the right top corner are dried cranberries and apricots. Under the dried fruit there'll be some cashews and almonds. Yay Lunch!

Not just lunch really...it can hold enough food to be breakfast, lunch, and a 2pm snack if you pack it right.

It folds up to look like this - 

It's an easy shape to store in the fridge and then grab in the morning before running out the door. The divider that covers the sandwich area locks in with the divider on the bottom so nothing gets messed up even when you toss it into the passenger seat while trying to find your ID badge.

I'm pretty happy.