Remember how I said last week that we were making an effort to eat healthier and stick to a budget? Well ... we've been doing great.
Until ... I was overcome to make several donations to the recovery efforts in Haiti. And Charlie, in a fit from his sugar detox, caved and made a gorgeously beautiful tray of O'Henry bars. Which I'm thinking of renaming, "O'Heavenly Bars" because I swore I heard angels singing as I took my first bite after a severely sugar-restricted diet the past few days.
But each day is a new day to do better and we must press on.
So in an attempt at sticking to our healthy eating plan, I cleaned out our refrigerator. Let's just pretend for a moment, I was cleaning it out to take an inventory of what was there and not to say, find space for a huge half eaten tray of O'Heavenly Bars.
As I was sorting through our produce drawers, I was overcome by how disheveled everything was: there were peppers here and there, onion skins scattered about like leaves in the Fall, potatoes that were starting to sprout and grow and partially dried out cloves of garlic filling in all the voids.
So I took everything out, washed the drawers and then removed produce from bags and washed each item, thoroughly. Because I figure I'll be more apt to use fresh produce if it's something I can just grab and eat. As opposed to say stare at and debate if I have the energy to clean it first. Either Yes or No?
If Yes, I'll grab it, hastily wash it, and then lament that it's wet.
If No, it continues to sit in my refrigerator until it rots.
Heads of lettuce were soaked in water and then, I stuck them in my salad spinner to remove excess moisture. Wait a minute. Do you know what a salad spinner is?
I mean, it seems like such an obvious household appliance, like say a spoon. But it wasn't that long ago we had some friends over for dinner and they were totally intrigued by the salad spinner. They'd never seen one before. They asked, with great trepidation, "What - is - this - contraption? That - removes - water - from - lettuce - as - if - by - magic?"
How it works is that once your lettuce is nice and washed (I prefer to soak it, drain it, soak it again, and then rinse) you place it in the salad spinner which consists of a perforated plastic basket within a larger container that has holes along the bottom. Once you place the interior basket inside, you pop on the top which has teeth that grab the interior basket and through the beauty of centrifugal force, you spin all of the water off your lettuce.
Which then drains, by the beauty of gravity, out of the holes on the exterior basket.
No, it's not magic. It's PHYSICS!
Once thoroughly rinsed and dewatered, I placed the lettuce in bags that were clearly labeled and stuck them in the drawers for my easy eating enjoyment. (Don't be judging the pre-packaged salads, Michele. Those were a previous purchase made NOT by me.)
All of the produce (that was of the non-lettuce variety) was placed in to large bowls so that they are conveniently contained and clearly visible.
Now I know that there are a lot of people that will argue produce maintains it's fresh state longer if you keep it in bags. The problem with that scenario - at least for me - is that when it's in bags, I can't easily see it and so I forget about it until I smell something bad. So with this new and improved approach, there is no more losing track of a pepper only to discover it three months later, covered in mold. No more losing little cloves of garlic or uncovering a bag of cilantro that has so far exceeded the point of freshness that it's sogginess is dripping out of the bag.
Incredibly enough, almost every item of produce that was in those drawers has been used up. Not to mention, we didn't buy duplicates of something that we already had, but didn't know that we had, because we couldn't easily see it in the drawer. And here's an added bonus: this week, we've eaten salad with dinner every single night. We've had fresh Pico de Gallo, roasted red bell peppers and tacos, tacos, tacos. Our meal planning and preparation has been a snap, because I invested a few extra minutes last weekend - getting everything ready for the week ahead.
Yay for efficiency!
Not to mention, we are the PICTURE of good health.
Hey wait a second. Who put that there?!