Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Real Food Featurette

This photo is from November, when I was featured in Our Small Hours' Time for Real Food Feature.

Below are some photos of my kitchen as it was back in November:

I wanted to update this to say, my kitchen has radically changed since. I inherited a new food processor/blender. It looks exactly like the one to the right. I'll be selling the one that is just out of the picture in the last two photos (you can see the knob, and that's about it), and exclusively using the new food processor for both blending and all my whole foods cooking needs.

Also, since contributing to this post, I've gone on to begin including the GAPS diet recipes into our life, and we are slowly but surely transitioning. Our old dining room is transitioning into a multi-purpose bedroom, playroom and sitting room, and we're transitioning our living room into a dining/living room.  I'm shifting around our pantry to get the most I can out of it and I'm toying with the idea of getting an additional freezer to suit our needs better. I'm not sure if we can work that out this year or not though.

With the addition of our new food processor, I have begun making more items that require pulsing and processing that I was unable to do with my Phillips emulsion mixer.  I do still use my emulsion mixer, but I've pretty much killed the mini processor and need to replace it. I still have the manual put away, so I'm sure I can contact the company and simply order the replacement parts I need (blade and cup). I've used it for the last 5 years, so I don't suppose that is too terribly bad considering.  However, it is not helpful in doing the things I need to do with my new food processor, at all! (That's putting it really mildly!)  It is however great for making gravy or small amounts of powdered sugar that has clumped together.

Another change since this blog post, is that I am now listening to and looking into helping out with Google+ Language Practice hangouts, while also teaching English at home a few times a month, and preparing myself so that I can go back to the Goethe Institut coursework that is offered locally in September to improve upon my German and have the certificate proving that I did legitimately learn what I know. It is very intensive, and runs for 9 months, 5 days a week for 5 hours a day. This will require getting the house in order, stream-lined and figuring out how to get 8 meals a day prepared to be eaten out of the home. (Breakfast and lunch for 4 individuals)

Considering how small my kitchen is, you'd be amazed at the amount of work I get done in there.
The basic run down of my day includes: running in the kitchen to get breakfast made for the children, while also making their scheduled lunch for kindergarten. I go in our now multipurpose room (we haven't removed the cabinet in there with my supplies) and take out a couple bento boxes for the kids' breakfast and will put that together while lunch is on the stove cooking. Simultaneously, I'll be cleaning up the kitchen - loading and unloading the dishwasher. I like to keep the kitchen very clean as I go, as it is so small and it's easy to accidentally break some dishware or run out of space.

I get a lot of use out of the little foldable Ikea table (NORBERG) in the middle of the wall beside our fridge when I'm baking, or even unpacking groceries. That's usually my staging area when I'm putting food into my Lock & Lock Multifunctionsboxen, and the children's bento boxes or bread boxes.

You'll probably laugh, but due to my other activities, I've apparently caused my youngest son to fall in love with the Japanese Anime series from the 1970s, Heidi. So, his favorite "brotdose" (bread box) is his Heidi Box. He even has matching silverware. No, no one makes fun of him. It's one of many boxes... His absolute favorite is his Angry Birds box. I'm afraid I may have to replace it, and I haven't seen a replacement anywhere as of yet. To your right, is the exact same box that he has. You'd be amazed what you can pack in there using a few silicon muffin forms to keep the wet items away from dry items!!

His second favorite box is his dinosaur "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!!" box. It has a little divider, which is terribly helpful, and packs slightly more inside than the Heidi Box does. It's very handy for days that they have educational field trips outside around the village. The only thing I hate about it is how high the top is from where most of the items are, so I ended up asking a friend of ours (before she moved back to the US) if she didn't mind getting us some GLAD Press and Seal. I've been using it terribly sparingly, and it is perfect for those little trips, or when we travel to visit with family.

One of my eldest son's favorite boxes are his two "Spidermayn!" box. In fact, what made this so hilarious for me was, I got it and a couple others on sale, and he had no idea who Spiderman was. Not because I hadn't thought to introduce him to the cartoons (Especially "Spiderman and his Amazing Friends" - my absolute favorite of them all!)  - it's because he had no interest to sit down and watch any of the movies or the cartoons with me. Shocker.

They have no divider, but I get on  fine with my silicon muffin forms.

 Since I keep mentioning them, it's time to introduce my Silicon Muffin forms.
I HATE paper muffin liners, and gluten free cupcakes stick horribly to them, but they do not to the silicon forms if you cool them properly and then take them out after cooling for 10 minutes in the pan. Voilá, this genius idea came to me after reading over at Lunch in a Box. I have been in love with the whole Bento idea for many years, as I am a huge anime fan (ask me about that in the comments if you dare...) so these are an awesome fix as I can't afford too many of the mini forms straight from Japan via Ebay.
The heart-shaped forms, I purchased on Ebay, but they have them available now on Amazon.de, and I saw some on Amazon.com as well. The ones I have are a little more angular and fit into corners perfectly. You have no idea how helpful this is when you are building a bento in a smallish container and only need to contain one small wet item. It only takes up that tiny little corner, and IF you felt creative in the early morning, you can build that into your meal as something creative. Maybe a balloon today, a flower tomorrow!
The dark grey ones, I picked those up at our local grocery store. I've seen them both at REWE and TOOM, and on Amazon.de  They are also super helpful, when you are not using clear Lock & Lock containers like the Spiderman boxes.

My favorite part though of making bento (when I have time to get creative!) is the kawaii  food picks you can order from Japan and China direct. My favorite Ebay sellers are Benrigoods, BentoDelicious, Sakura Zakka Shop, kaczan*bento and kawaii_kewpie_store (they have nothing in their stores this time around *waa!*),  and last but not least - Hong Kong Outlet. They have all been so helpful in building up my crazy bento stock these last two years. Once in a while I buy from other sellers, but those are my main "must check first!!!" (underline many times!, bold!, highlighted!) sellers.

And since I knew I would be starting to venture out into the wild, wild world - I've begun collecting a few small bento boxes for myself. Right now I have a really cute bird set in blue, a few cute brotdose I picked up via Tchibo, and a couple cute Hello Kitty items I found at KIK. (don't knock it, I have a limited budget to work with here!) I've been debating going back and picking up some Minnie Mouse items I saw. (Hey, I like Disney too!)

For my husband's lunch, we are still doing GAPS Intro, which requires a lot of bone broth.

We just put everything into one of these, and additionally he is drinking some milk kefir shakes in the morning, so he uses another container for all of his kefir needs. I tend to keep the kefir in our fridge (after straining the grains out) in some neat little Ikea glassware items I picked up after I saw how inexpensive they are there compared to the local grocery and farm stores near us.  If you have an IKEA near you, definitely look into the Korken series!  I use the small ones for small meal leftovers and for things I send for the boys to kindergarten, and the larger 2 liter glasses to brew water kefir (tibicos) in, while I use the smaller 1 liter jars to hold bone broth or coleslaw when I make up a huge batch.

I generally will eat breakfast after I have dropped the kids at kindergarten and will rest for a couple hours before I putter around the house. This is when you might find me surfing around and commenting over on the forums I am on, or playing over at Rings of Orbis. I went there after one of my favorite actors (Nathan Fillion) mentioned that's where he plays online in his spare time. I figured free scifi game, if Nathan likes it, I'll check that out! And I've stayed ever since.

*Ahem* Anyhow. Lunch for me will either consist of leftovers or something created very quickly and efficiently before I have to go pick up the little monkeys from kindergarten. This is their second nickname after their pet names, simply because they climb everything and have almost no fear, like little toddler monkeys. If you met my kids, you'd know this was in no way shaming or derogatory at all. ;)

Dinner is usually something that my husband and I will come up with together or will decide one or the other will do. This is soon to be changing, as we are transitioning further and further towards GAPS compliance. Now that I had found some online videos we can watch together to discuss rather than say "here listen to/read this..." - and him tuning out, he is more involved and aware of what is being discussed with the visual aid.

Last night was the first night we have had a full GAPS meal since Thanksgiving. So far, we'd just been trudging along, adding one or two GAPS items every other meal, or making gravy from bone broth to help ourselves along.

I think as we get the hang of this (yay for printing out almost two reams of paper and beginning to finally organize the items I have by stage... I think we're getting somewhere. It's not like I've been sitting on my thumbs and going nowhere with this whole thing since September.

Stay tuned for the Next "Real Food Feature" - because I will be talking about Bento boxes a bit more, and sharing how I keep them organized.

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