Stop me Before I Blanch Again

When I post to this blog, I usually do so with the faith that someone else out there is thinking/feeling/doing the same thing, or that at least you might find it amusing to read about what I’m thinking/feeling/doing even if (or especially if) it’s a little off the wall.

But I recognize that there is a line across which laughing along with me turns into shifting uncomfortably in your seat. The smile is still on your lips, but it’s tentative now. You’re not sure what it says about you that you’re laughing at me. You’re looking around for the exits.

I don’t know where that line is, but I’m still hearing folks saying “Right on,” “Word,” and the occasional, “Amen” in response to my posts, so I’m fairly certain I’ve not crossed it yet.

And yet there’s sometimes that question in my mind: Is this the post that’s going to meet with that uncomfortable shifting and polite smiling? Is this the post that someone in real life is going to mention to me and lead me to say, “Oh, my. I can’t believe I said that about myself”?

I don’t think this is that post.

This post is about Rachael Ray and how insidiously her influence has infiltrated my consciousness.

It starts at the gym. I spent 30 minutes running on the treadmill yesterday, which means that I spent 30 minutes watching Dr Oz even though Ira Glass was talking about the 2010 congressional elections on my headphones. Rachael Ray was a guest on this particular show. She was promoting her new book and giving little tips about how to stretch your food dollar. I got two main messages from her. The first was to buy a lot of something when it’s on sale, then blanch it, if necessary, and freeze it, thereby preserving that sale price. The second was to prepare all of the week’s meals on the weekend and essentially eat leftovers all week. These ideas rode the exercise-induced elevated adrenaline levels to my brain where they proceeded to produce new synaptic connections and thereby alter the way I think.

Today, I went grocery shopping.

I went online before making my list and found the current sales flyer, which I read carefully while the words “loss leaders” echoed through my head. After looking at the sales flyer, I wrote on my list things like navel oranges, turkey, and canola oil because they were on sale. When I arrived at the store, I discovered that the items in the flyer weren’t the only items on sale. I also purchased, among other things, two pomegranates, five yams, three bunches of broccoli, and a pound of tortellini in tomato pesto for the kids to eat for lunch.

When I arrived home, I warmed the tortellini and sat the kids down in front of it while I put away the groceries. I froze the turkey wings I bought in anticipation of turkey soup next week. I halved the beef roast and chopped half of it up for stew meat and left the other half for a mini pot roast and put both in labeled freezer bags. I sliced the sirloin steak for thai steak salad and put that in a freezer bag.

It was at about this time that I discovered that my son was chewing up the tortellini then spitting them out and sitting on them, so I took a break to clean that up. Then I cut up and blanched the three bunches of broccoli, and put them in three labeled freezer bags, too. It was as I was putting everything into the freezer that I remembered why it is I’ve never taken this course of action to save money on food before: we have a serious freezer-space deficiency.

I did manage to cram everything in there while saying a silent prayer of gratitude that the dairy-free ice cream bars weren’t on sale.

 

That ice maker isn't hooked up to the water supply. If I could figure out how to remove it to make space for more blanched veggies, I would.

 

 

I’ve been lobbying for a chest freezer for a while. My husband’s reasons for not getting one are decent: he doesn’t want to spend the money, he doesn’t want something else taking up space, he doesn’t want something else using up electricity. He read somewhere that a totally full freezer runs more efficiently than a partially full freezer, and that has become his mantra when I bring up the chest freezer idea. I’ve suggested that adequate airflow is also important for proper freezer function, but he is not swayed by this argument.

I’ve also argued that we could make our Costco membership go further if we had the freezer space to buy perishables in bulk, and that I wouldn’t need to buy expensive frozen berries over the winter if I had ample freezer space to freeze berries when they’re ripe at the farmers market. The berry argument gave him pause, but he remains resolute about his “no chest freezer” stance.

Maybe I should just buy one for him to put under the tree for me.

12 comments

  1. Pingback: Unpalatable Mealtimes: A Brainstorming Session with Myself « Imperfect Happiness
  2. Lea · December 20, 2010

    Okay, so I know I’m getting to this discussion late b/c I’m just now catching up on your posts. You are correct that the freezer needs proper airflow around the items to function most efficiently. Looking at the picture of yours, you are using more electric and the freezer is running more than designed b/c it’s filled past capactity. And I bet you could find a small used upright freezer to put in the garage on the classifieds or craig’s list that wouldn’t break the bank.

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  3. Pingback: Why I Don’t Mind Getting a Freezer for Christmas « Imperfect Happiness
  4. jackie · December 3, 2010

    laughed so hard at your son “chewing up, spitting out, and sitting on tortellini”, i literally spit out water onto my keyboard! right there with ya. yvie sits on more than she swallows.

    whew, that is one jam-packed freezer. chest freezers are supposed to keep food longer too, or so i’ve heard – you might spot a good used one on KSL? (and not need to consider it your Xmas gift 😉

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    • CJ · December 3, 2010

      I’ve heard a deep freeze is supposed to keep food longer, too (I know my mom has some things in hers from at least five years ago). KSL is a great idea, except then I’d have to find some way to transport it. My VW Jetta won’t hold a lot of freezer. I wouldn’t mind if it were my Christmas present, though. I should post the little thing I wrote up when we got our washing machine almost two years ago. Maybe I will…

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  5. Laurel · December 1, 2010

    We have an upright freezer in our garage, and we do use it much more than I thought we would. I love it especially when I make HUGE batches of soup and can freeze the left-overs in individual containers for our enjoyment in the month(s) to come! We do take advantage of the Costco savings, too! 🙂

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  6. timbra · November 30, 2010

    i’m just going to say “nun” every time you mention something that you want to go buy and put under the tree for yourself 🙂

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    • CJ · December 1, 2010

      (singing) “How do you solve a problem like a freezer?”

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  7. Christy P. · November 30, 2010

    This time of year, you have a very large freezer right outside your door. Just protect the stuff from critters.

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    • CJ · November 30, 2010

      I would use our naturally occuring freezer were it not for my worry that a warm snap would have us forfeiting any cost savings we may have reaped from buying on sale. Plus, we’ve got some pretty tenacious raccoons in our neighborhood.

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  8. Stacy · November 30, 2010

    Just be glad it was Rachael Ray invading your conciousness. Could be way worse. I’m just saying.

    And yes to the chest freezer. My husband’s parents are so in favor of it, they were going to buy us one as a wedding gift. Problem was, we were in an apt and I refused to pit the freezer in our bedroom.

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    • CJ · November 30, 2010

      Freezer in the bedroom…that could be just the solution we’re looking for (at least for the “where would we put it?” issue).

      Like

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