Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Bowling, Shopping, Markets and Quilts.
Yesterday was our last bowling for summer league, next week we get lunch and then some fun bowling games and that's it until September. We were toying with the idea of bowling the odd game or two for the rest of the summer, but as I have strained the joint of my thumb, due to bowling, I thought I would give it a rest until we start league bowling again. Pity because its not bad exercise and we both enjoy it although Matt swears he doesn't if he isn't bowling well. Lately I have been bowling two pretty good games and then a pretty lousy third game. Its incredible how one can do that, just completely go to pieces and bowl as though you'd never done so before. Upper left is a picture of where we have been bowling this year. Today on Good Morning America they had a segment on grocery shopping because of the way prices are rising so fast. Apparently you can get some very good deals from Amazon.com and if you spend more than $29 you can get free delivery as well as saving gas/petrol. I don't know if this works with other country's Amazons though. Secondly they said the wholesale stores like Costco and Sam's had excellent prices but of course most things have to be bought in bulk and you may not have the storage space or a large family to use up fresh food quickly. Plus you may have to drive a fair distance to your local one. We certainly do for our nearest Costco. You can also shop online at Costco. Finally your local supermarket for the fresh items you need which you should buy in the quantities you can use before anything spoils. This brings me back to Debbie Meyer Green Bags which help preserve your vegetables and work really well. I mentioned them in a previous blog and I think they are a great investment. I have been using them for months now. Her website Debbie Meyer Brand Products lists other bags which I have not tried. A lot depends on your requirements, we use a lot of fresh vegetables so find the green bags helpful. We don't use a lot of cheese although we do end up throwing some out now and again, maybe I should investigate. Breads and muffins we keep in the freezer until we want to use them - 20 seconds in the microwave freshens most breads - so I don't need bags for that and sliced meats we buy enough for the week and use it up. Not much of this information applies outside North America; they did suggest clipping coupons and being sure to use them. You have to beware of coupon scams too though. What will they scam next I wonder. Never, but never, pay for discount coupons, they are probably a scam anyway. A lot of coupons can be found online; I would imagine that this would apply to any western country, not just North America. I don't know if the big warehouses exist in Europe or not. Another hot topic these days is shopping "close to home" in other words making sure things are grown and produced within 100 miles of you. This would mean you should make use of your local markets, we have several flourishing markets in our area, one of the most well know being St. Jacob's Farmers' Market in, would you believe, St. Jacobs. At this time of the year they open at least a couple of times a week and are very popular for fresh produce as well as other grocery items in the meat and cheese areas. Quite a few of the stalls are manned by Mennonites who are very prominent in the local farming communities. They also sell clothing at the market. Here's a picture to prove it. Something also sold in the market and which are very popular in North America are quilts. Quilting to me, originating in the British Isles, was something people did with bits of old rags to make covers for their beds when they didn't have a lot of money. In this area it is a very big art form and quilts can sell for a lot of money. Many raffles are held with quilts as prizes and there are even quilt museums. I was talking to a Dutch friend the other day and we found we both feel the same lack of interest probably due to our European heritage. I thought of this when I was looking for pictures of the market because I found pictures of quilts for sale there - if you have that kind of money. I know in our apartment building they have a raffle for a quilt every year for some charity or other. Here is a recipe from my cooking group which I must admit is another one I haven't tried although it sounds good. It is called old clothes because the meat is shredded like tattered rags. Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes) Cuisine: Cuban Servings: 6 Ingredients: 2 1/2 lbs flank steak, cut in strips 5 tablespoons oil 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic or 5 cloves garlic, minced 1 large onion, diced 1 green pepper, diced 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1 cup water 6 ounces sofrito sauce (recipe follows) Sofrito The secret to a good sofrito is to let it simmer a while so all the tastes meld. 21 cherry tomatoes, chopped 2 green peppers, chopped 2 large onions, chopped 8 to 10 garlic cloves, chopped 1 or 2 bay leaves touch of ground cumin touch of dried oregano 3/4 cup Sherry, or to taste 4 Tbsp olive oil Salt to taste (optional) Instructions: Heat 3 tbsp. oil in skillet on medium, brown meat on all sides. Remove from skillet, add remaining oil to skillet, stir in garlic, onion and green pepper and cook until translucent. Stir in black pepper, browned meat, tomato sauce, water and sofrito. Simmer until meat is tender and shreds easily, about 1 hour. Serve on top of rice. Sofrito Sautee tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin and oregano in oil slowly until all vegetables are limp. Add Sherry and let simmer. If you add the salt, taste beforehand as you might not need it at all. Have a great day.