Cooking and cleaning

June 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The boys are at Pioneer Camp this week.

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While they are busy making bricks, digging holes, forging iron, and mostly just getting dirty, I am trying to get the house back in order after termite-ageddon.

Yesterday the screens on our pool cage were repaired.

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See Maggie…that is a pool cage. Or a bird cage around the pool. Or a screened-in pool. Or whatever you want to call it. Apparently not common in California? Very common in Florida. When they tented the house for termites they had to cut all the screens abutting the house. It was so sad. All of the accumulated debris on those screens just fell through onto the pool deck and into the pool.

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It doesn’t look as bad in the pictures as it did in real life. There were branches and leaves and dirt everywhere. It was depressing.

But now…

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no more debris!

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I spent most of the morning sweeping the whole deck. Deck sweeping attire (which I would never wear in public, but apparently I would share with the interwebs…plus, this reflection is nice and blurry, mostly obscuring my squishy parts):

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Next up will be pressure washing the deck with Chad’s new pressure washer. I think it was a pretty nice gift considering labor was included.

Of course as soon as they put up the new screens some more branches fell on them.

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It was quite an ordeal just to find a company to repair the screens. What is it with contractors of all sorts? They don’t return calls. They don’t want to give estimates. I called six companies and was only able to get a written estimate from one of them! Luckily, the guys were great and did a good job, but I have no idea if their bid was competitive because I couldn’t even get a second bid. We went with Reliable Screens and they were nice to work with. They came when they said they were going to and knew what they were doing. It’s crazy how they walk around on those narrow bars on the cage ceiling.

They told me they are a “one call does it all” kind of business, and I am also going to use them to clean out and repair our gutters and clean off the roof. Maybe I can get them to remove all the branches from the top of the pool cage while they are at it.

In addition to cleaning the pool deck today, I also did a bunch of cooking.

I have Chinese five spice pork ribs in the crock pot (recipe from Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed 2).

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I also made cole slaw to have a side dish with dinner (recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain). It is made with my awesome homemade mayo (recipe from Well Fed).

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We’re also going to have cheddar garlic biscuits that I made on Sunday. Everything is #NSNG (no sugar, no grains) of course. I’m almost 10 months NSNG now, and loving it. This is the way to live…for me and my family anyway.

I also have bone broth on the stove, but it’s a 2-day process.

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I am using Wellness Mama’s method for making bone broth. The organic grass-fed beef bones are from Rosas Farms. They are in Ocala, but deliver to St. Pete and other areas twice a month. I pick up my meat in the Home Depot parking lot out of the trunk of some guy’s car…this is normal, right?

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I’m also making a new batch of mayo since I used up all that we had for the cole slaw and we must always have homemade mayo.

Whew. I also did two loads of laundry. I feel like I got a lot accomplished today. The boys will be home soon.

In other random news, I was excited to see the progress on our Trader Joe’s…just a mile or so from my house:

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Since the new Trader Joe’s opened in Tampa in March I haven’t even been over there! I’m not quite as enamored with TJ’s as I used to be, but I’m still psyched to be getting one here in St. Pete. I like options, and I will never run out of coconut cream!


Baby AJ, Trader Joe’s, Bulk Nation, and Volunteer Day at School

October 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Yesterday’s breakfast (and today’s was exactly like it so I didn’t take a picture):

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This is my favorite “fast” breakfast. Keeps you going for hours.

Yesterday the boys and headed across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Cal took these pictures):

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To meet my friend Theresa (of Active Eggplant), her husband Ryan, and her new little baby AJ for lunch in Sarasota. We met at Square 1 Burger.

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This was my first time trying Square 1 Burger, but I had heard good things. I didn’t really care where we met. I just couldn’t wait to see 10 week old AJ in person finally.

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Look at that baby goodness! The little face is so perfect. He was adorable.

Remember this sweet bicycle bunting that I bought at the Artpool Indie Market “Crafty Fest” a little while ago?

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It was for AJ. Theresa and Ryan are avid cyclists, and when I saw it I immediately thought of them. I hope they like it!

I am easily influenced by others’ choices at restaurants, so when Theresa said she was going to get the 3-Mushroom burger, I had to order that also.

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I got mine on a bed of greens with a side of steamed broccoli.

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It was amazingly delicious! Square 1 Burger is definitely a high end burger place, and the options are endless. I also liked the chic, edgy décor.

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I’d go back!

After lunch we all headed to Trader Joe’s.

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Since Sarasota has the closest TJ’s to us, this is a destination shopping experience for us. Trader Joe’s is the only place I can find canned coconut cream that I like, and I also love to stock up on their organic, grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chicken. So about once a month or so we make the trip down. They have broken ground on a TJ location in Tampa, and I can’t wait. It is supposed to open next year, and I hope it’s early next year! There are also (serious) rumors about a TJ coming to 4th Street in St. Petersburg. I hope the rumors are true! The rumored location is very close to our neighborhood.

Of course Ryan and Theresa had to stop and admire a cool bike in the rack on the way into Trader Joe’s.

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It was so great getting to hang out with you guys and meet the awesome AJ!

I had to drool over this for a minute…

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but did not succumb to temptation.

I stocked up on winter squash…

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bought a case of cuties…

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and loaded up our cart with a ton of other stuff.

After we left Trader Joe’s we stopped by the new Bulk Nation just one block away.

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Chad had mentioned reading about this place opening, but I forgot about it until we drove by. I couldn’t spend much time in the store because we had a cooler full of meat we had to get back to St. Petersburg, but I couldn’t resist checking it out.

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Holy smokes. I think that they had every type of non-perishable item that you could imagine.

The evil candy wall:

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Pet products:

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Joffrey’s Coffee of every variety:

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Herbs and spices:

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All types of baking supplies as well as every individual color of sugar and sprinkles:

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Nuts, fruits, veggies, and snacks:

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Jarred/pickled vegetables, etc.:

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All kinds of interesting things.

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Next time I’m going to plan better and hit up Bulk Nation before going to Trader Joe’s.

At Bulk Nation they were pretty curious about me asking to take photos. The cashier asked why I wanted to take photos. I told her that I was going to write about the store. She asked, “Write for what?” I told her I had a blog. She asked, “What are you blogging for?” I replied, “Mostly for my own amusement.” She totally could not understand. I guess it’s inexplicable, really.

So they wouldn’t think I was a total freak (too late), I did buy something.

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Most of the fried/dried veggies (like the green beans, carrot chips, vegetable chips) all contained canola oil. Here is a great article by Wellness Mama about Why You Should Never Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine. These banana chips were made with coconut oil. Yay!

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They are relatively high in carbohydrate (because banana are high in carbs, duh), but with no added sugar and no unhealthy ingredients, I thought they would be good as a treat. And keep me from looking like a lunatic bulk food stalker.

Dinner last night was grilled asparagus and roasted butternut squash (both from Trader Joe’s, and the bags of TJ’s prepared butternut squash are awesome), and previously frozen Whole Foods salmon that I also cooked on the grill in a foil pouch with Trader Joe’s African smoked seasoning blend. I love that stuff.

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This morning it was raining so I drove Mack to school. Then later I went back to school for my volunteer day. Here’s my OOTVD (outfit of the volunteering day):

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Wednesday is International Walk to School Day!

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(You can read about Walk to School Day 2012 here, 2011 here, and 2010 here.)

I put together homework packets, a usual.

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I did battle with the copy machine and won.

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I sat with the sweet potato in the courtyard while he ate lunch.

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Luckily it had stopped raining for a little bit.

Not sure what to make of this:

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Silver? I hope the standard is MUCH higher for gold.

When I got home this had arrived in the mail:

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Thanks St. Anthony’s Hospital foundation! The boys will enjoy sharing that huge cookie. I went to the Sprinkles event last year and it was really fun. Last year it was held in the Vinoy ballroom, which is beautiful. Check out that link for details, but this is a really great event. I hope to go again this year! (and give away all the cookies again like I did last year)

Now I need to go make my lunch. I’m thinking olives rolled up in Applegate Farms roast beef and leftover roasted butternut squash because that is the fastest thing I can shove into my mouth and I’m all of a sudden starving.


p.s. thanks for all the comments on my Zoo Boo post!